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Establishing paternity and gaining parental rights

Parents in Missouri who are unmarried or separated may not realize that both parents do not automatically possess parental rights. For fathers who are not married to the mothers of their children, it may be a challenge to attain the rights to their children. Typically, a father must first establish paternity through the state via a DNA test. Afterwards, a paternity or custody action could potentially result in the father receiving parental rights.

Parental rights could include the ability to assist in legal decisions regarding matters such as education and health care or request child support if the father becomes the custodial parent. If the father is not the custodial parent, that individual could then choose to request a modification in custody and possibly attempt to attain physical or joint custody. It is also possible to make modifications to visitation rights.

Establishing paternity can help a child and allow them a certain security of knowing both of their biological parents. This may also be useful when obtaining information on family medical history, and both parents’ medical or life insurance may be beneficial to the child. The child could also benefit from the financial support of both parents via child support, social security, veterans benefits and other means of financial assistance.

My law firm has over 10 years’ worth of experience in practicing family law to protect the rights of children as well as their families. If you would like more information on how you can legally protect your rights as a parent, please visit my page on children’s and fathers’ rights.

Source: Law Office of Barbara Graham, LLC, “ST. LOUIS CHILDREN’S RIGHTS & FATHER’S RIGHTS ATTORNEY“, August 28, 2014