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The challenges with establishing paternity

Generally, fatherhood is about being a parent to a child, but when a child is born out of wedlock, the father has to establish that he is in fact the father. Tests are conducted so he can obtain custody and visitation rights. Paternity is a legal issue that concerns both parents. Here in St. Charles, Missouri, parents may be interested to learn more about paternity and the challenges often faced by parents who are dealing with this issue.

Often, paternity issues arise when one parent, usually the mother, seeks child support from the father of the child. Before courts grant the request for support, the other parent may undergo DNA testing or just admit that he is the father of the child. Paternity cases also can also involve custody and visitation.

Once the paternity is established, the father may now ask to be involved in the children's life. And just like other custody disputes, family law courts consider the ability of both parents to raise the child. Negotiating with one another can save a lot of time as both parties can create their own custody arrangement without an interfering third party such as the judge.

Paternity is a complicated issue. Parents who have similar issues should understand that paternity can open doors to more complex legal issues, which is why it is important to fully understand the issue before making any decisions. Obtaining legal guidance could help parents better understand their rights and how family courts handle such cases.

In the end, it is the child who will benefit in paternity cases. Both parents can choose a subtle approach such as mediation or collaborative law when discussing child support and custody issues. Still, litigation is a viable option, especially if both parties are not willing to cooperate and discuss such issues out of court.

Source: Mo.gov, "Establish paternity," accessed on Oct. 2, 2014

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