If a child has been born who may or may not be yours, you, as a man, should be looking into determining paternity. To establish paternity, you have a few options in Missouri.
To start with, if you know that the child is yours, you have the ability to sign an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity at the hospital at the time of your child’s birth. Usually, children are in the hospital for a few days, so you have time to get this paperwork together while they’re in the facility. You and your child’s mother will sign this document together.
If you don’t do this together at the hospital, you have other options. You can still sign that document by contacting the Family Support Division or by reaching out to the Department of Health and Senior Services’ Bureau of Vital Records.
Mothers, if they believe a man is the father but cannot get him to acknowledge it, can ask for a court order establishing him as the father of the child.
What happens if a mother is married but has a child with a different man?
In that case, the mother and her current husband will need to sign a form called “Husband’s Denial of Paternity.” The biological father may then sign an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity. If he refuses or denies that the child is his, then she may ask the court to step in and set up a DNA test along with the ability to establish paternity and support if he is the father.
What should you do if you’re not sure if you’re the father of a child?
Before you sign anything, it’s in your best interests to ask for a DNA test. You are able to get free paternity testing in Missouri. This free testing is available through the state’s Family Support Division.
DNA testing is simple. The test itself only requires a quick swab of the cheek of the mother, child and man assumed to be the father. After the laboratory analyzes the test, it will provide results to determine the father under Missouri law.
This genetic testing will help you understand who is biologically related. Once it’s completed, you can go on to establish paternity legally by completing the Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity.