Do you know someone who has ever been through a custody battle and had to establish paternity? Emotionally, cases like this can be draining. It’s important to just do your best to stay focused on the task at hand and keep emotions out of it as much as possible. Don’t let emotions cloud your better judgment. That being said, our child custody attorneys at the Lake of the Ozarks are here for you. We can be your legal guides through this emotional time in your life. Keep reading this week’s blog for a few important points regarding how paternity is established. Call Deputy and Mizell today to schedule your free consultation. We can be reached at 573-346-9990.
How is Paternity Established?
KNOW THAT GENETIC TESTING IS NOT REQUIRED.
No, it is not required. However, if there is a dispute, you may ask for genetic testing. Free genetic testing is available through the Missouri Department of Social Services Family Support Division if a person requests it before paternity is established. The genetic testing requires samples being taken from the child and all suspected parents of the child. These samples are usually cells from the lining of the mouth. Once the samples have been collected, they are compared in an approved laboratory to look for matches in DNA of the person and child.
YOU WILL LIKELY HAVE TO FORM A PARENTING PLAN.
When custody is considered, each party files their own “Parenting Plan” before the hearing. If both parties agree, a joint plan can be filed. The “Parenting Plan” should list the following:
- A schedule of times where the child will spend with each parent
- How the parents will make decisions regarding the child’s welfare
- The Missouri Courts Judicial Branch of Government website has a resource that can assist parents in designing their parenting plans, the “In Your Child’s Best Interest Handbook.”
YOU MAY HAVE TO FILE A “FATHER’S PETITION FOR DECLARATION OF PATERNITY.”
When a man believes he is the biological father of a child, he may file, what is referred to as a “Father’s Petition for Declaration of Paternity, Child Custody and/or Support form.” This case must be filed in a circuit court where the child or mother resides. It may also be filed where a case already involving the child is pending. If other people, permitted by Missouri law are interested, they may file a petition to establish paternity as well.
A “NEXT FRIEND” MAY BE APPOINTED.
When you hear “next friend” in Missouri court, this refers to a case involving a child under the age of 18. A “next friend” is an adult who must be appointed by the court to act on behalf of a child. Being the “next friend” does NOT give the person any special status when it comes to determining the custody of the child.
Let’s Get You Through This Together.
Remember, if you’re trying to establish paternity, you’re not alone. Many others have come before you and got through it. We are here for you too. Give us a call at the Camdenton Law Office phone number listed below to stay up to date on our latest announcements and legal tips. You can also check our website out at www.DeputyandMizell.com for even more helpful legal information.
Contact Deputy & Mizell, LLC to schedule your private (FREE) consultation today.
Representing Clients Across the Lake of the Ozarks Region