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Common issues with paternity actions and current paternity laws

Securing parental rights is important for individuals in Missouri and elsewhere. However, some presumed fathers find it challenging to initiate and progress through paternity issues. Whether they seek to establish paternity to gain parental rights or prove that they are not the father in order to terminate child support obligations, going through a paternity action is often difficult and does not always have favorable results.

For example paternity fraud and erroneous paternity determinations are collectively an underreported problem in the United States. Recent studies suggest that roughly 30 percent of fathers currently paying child support are not the father of the child they are supporting. And while this is against all logic, many of these men are still required to pay child support even after going to court and providing DNA evidence proving that they are not the father.

Unfortunately, even if a presumed father can proves that they are not the father of the child, support obligations remain for various reasons.

When a married couple has a baby, the husband is the assumed father of the child. And once he signs the paternity acknowledgment at the hospital, this starts the clock for the statute of limitations to challenge his assumed paternity. If a husband discovers that he is not the father due to his wife having an affair and a DNA test proves this, he may still remain the legal father. If the statute of limitation has passed, he will likely have to pay child support until the child reaches the age of majority.

Another fairly common scenario is when a child is born out of wedlock and the mother seeks state aid. Agencies will typically require a mother to list the father of the child. This automatically opens up a child support cases against the named father so this can offset the amount the agency will have to pay. And even if the named man is not the father, he is now on the hook for support.

Whether you are seeking to establish paternity or prove that you are not the father to end support obligations, it is important to understand your rights and options so you can protect your best interests along the way.

Source: Huffington Post, "Problems With Paternity: Fraud To Securing Parental Rights," Joseph E. Cordell, accessed May 25, 2017.

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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