PATERNITY


We can assist you in court with establishing paternity of a child.  Either parent can file a paternity case with the court.

If paternity is in dispute, DNA testing can be performed to determine the biological father of the child.

Once the father of the child is determined, the court has an obligation to enter orders for custody and support of the child.

The guiding principle in custody determinations is what is in the best interest of the child.

There are two types of legal custody under Missouri law , joint legal custody and sole legal custody to one parent. Legal custody concerns the decision making for the child, including decisions regarding education, religion, health care, extracurricular activities, etc.

Joint legal custody means that the parents have an obligation to work together to make the decisions regarding their children's lives. In the event of a dispute, a dissolution decree will often require the parents to submit a dispute to mediation before returning to court.

Sole legal custody to one parent means that both parents have input into the decisions regarding their children's lives, but in the event of a dispute, the parent with sole legal custody can make the decision.

With either type of legal custody arrangement, there must be a plan for physical custody, so that arrangements are made for where the children will be on any given day.

Child support is calculated under Missouri law according to a chart.  The chart includes income from both parents.  The chart includes expenses for day care, health insurance, and extraordinary expenses for the children.

The Missouri paternity statutes (Chapter 210) have been amended so that a person against whom a judgment was entered for paternity and child support may file a petition to set aside the judgment with court at any time before December 31, 2011.

In the petition to set aside the judgment, the person must request an order for DNA genetic testing, or must allege that DNA genetic testing was conducted within the past 90 days that shows the person is not the father of the child.  The person filing the petition shall pay for the costs of the testing.

If the court determines, after testing, that the person is not the father of the child, the court can set aside the previous judgment for paternity and child support, and extinguish any child support arrearage.