National statistics indicate that the out-of-wedlock birth rate is about 40 percent. When a married couple has a baby, the identity of the father almost never comes into question. If a child is born to unwed parents, however, the father's identity may not always be as apparent. In cases where a child is born out of wedlock, a father has to file a paternity action if he wants to ensure that he has custody rights to his child.
Contrary to popular belief, simply being on a birth certificate does not give a father an enforceable custody order. If a father does not file a paternity case, a common scenario is where there is an administrative child support order put in effect against the father through the Division of Child Support Enforcement. Yet, while paying child support, the father still has no child custody schedule and right to see his child or be an equal decision-maker. If unmarried men fail to establish their rights, courts also have the discretion to award five years back child support.
At Stange Law Firm, PC, our dedicated St. Louis paternity issues lawyers represent clients on all sides of these cases. We have extensive experience in paternity disputes. We know the law and we know your rights. We understand what is at stake, and we work diligently to reach the best possible outcome on your behalf.
Strong Representation in Your Paternity Case
Making an accurate determination about the paternity of a child is critical. The results of these actions will have a serious impact on everyone involved for many years. Child support, custody and visitation, parental rights and other considerations will all move forward from the outcome of the paternity action.
When you hire our firm, we will do everything in our power to ensure that you get the right answers, including ensuring the integrity of the DNA testing. No matter which side of the case you are on, we will work to build the strongest possible case to support your position.
From our webpage, you can also find out more about the following topics at the links below or from the menu:
- Legitimation - Ensuring that a child us found to be the child of a father can be important in many paternity cases.
- Parental rights - Establishing parental rights can also be an important issue in paternity cases.
- Holiday visitation and child custody - In paternity cases, having a holiday schedule put in place can be vital in ensuring that both parents get to see a child during the holidays.
- Creating a parenting plan - Ensuring that there is a parenting plan or custody schedule is critical for unmarried parents.
- Child support - Making sure that the financial needs of a child are met can be a critical part of a paternity case.
- Transportation - For many unmarried parents, knowing where and when children will be exchanged is a critical issue.
- Name change - The last name of the child can be critically important for many unmarried parents. In some cases, a court my consider a hyphenated last name.
- Educational expenses - The cost of education, including private education or college education can be a vital issue for many unmarried parents.
Our clients in these cases have included:
- Unmarried men who are denied frequent and meaningful contact to their children by the mother
- Mothers who are trying to establish paternity to secure child support
- Alleged fathers who deny any biological relation to the child
A fathers relationship to his child is critical and there are plenty of fathers who want to have an active role in their child's life. We have written a few articles on the topic of dad's and their importance: Missouri Legal Summary on Paternity Cases, The Importance of Fathers, How is paternity established in Missouri?, A Dad's Power of Example and Paternity: The Importance of Establishing a Legal Father for Your Child. You can also listen to more on this topic in a podcast titled: I am on the birth certificate.
Contact a Paternity Attorney in St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield and Beyond
To schedule a consultation with a Missouri, Illinois or Kansas paternity lawyer, contact us online or by phone at 855-805-0595.