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The importance of establishing paternity

Establishing paternity can be beneficial to all parties involved: the father, the mother and, most importantly, the child. For married couples, the paternity of the father is established at the hospital at the time of birth. But, for children born outside of a marriage, unless both parents acknowledge who the father is things can get complicated.

Thankfully, advances in technology have made it easier than ever for paternity to be established. A simple swab sample from the inside of a man's cheek can be analyzed to determine paternity with nearly 100 percent accuracy. And this is important for both sides.

For mothers, it is important to establish the paternity of the father when it comes to potential child support agreements. In Missouri, child support payments may be collected as far back as five years prior to the initial filing. This is essential in assuring that all of a child's financial needs are properly met.

For the father and the child, establishing paternity assures that the father's rights are met with regards to child custody and visitations. This is also vital for a healthy relationship between a child and the father. The importance of the presence of the father in a child's life cannot be understated. Studies show that children who have their father playing a role in their life show an increase in emotional security and often grow up with stronger social connections.

Fathers play a crucial role in the cognitive, behavioral and general health and well-being of their child as well. Establishing paternity following the birth of a child is the important first step in giving a child the best chance for a happy and healthy life.

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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