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The importance of establishing paternity

Gender roles and the roles of fathers and mothers have been continually evolving in Missouri over the years and decades. When we look back to earlier times, we see what were considered traditional roles of the mother and wife staying home to care for the house and raise the children. But as society and our culture has changed, so have the responsibilities of parents and their roles within the family.

Less than half a century ago, it was rare for a father to be considered anything less than the breadwinner and it was assumed he worked to support the family. Times have changed however, and now it is not uncommon for women to be the breadwinners in the family and for fathers to become stay at home dads.

And with the evolution of the family comes the increase of paternal rights in United States law. With new technology, paternity tests are simple, fast and inexpensive. Establishing paternity is important for all parties involved, including the mother, the father and especially the child.

Establishing paternity is important not only for the well-being of the child, but also to solve legal disputes in the court of law when necessary, such as determining both child custody rights and child support allocations when necessary. Traditionally as long as the mother is providing reasonable care to a child or children child custody is typically granted to the mother, however there are many instances and circumstances that allow father's to obtain custody of the child. With a paternity test proving the father of a child, a father will often receive custodial rights over grandparents or prospective adoptive parents when there is an issue.

Source: FindLaw, "Paternity: Introduction," accessed on May 24, 2016

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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