Paternity testing and the steps at hand

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in child support on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.

No matter the situation, determining child custody can invite a world of stress for Missouri parents. After the obstacles of separation fade to the background, the court’s decisions on parenting arrangements can create entirely new challenges. When there is uncertainty surrounding the identity of a child’s biological father altogether, this stress can seem magnified.

Missouri law, like other states, requires that all parties agree to legal DNA testing, but does not require an initial DNA test. As Kctv5 News reported last year, one local father never received the paternity testing he had sought for years, only to later discover that his daughter was not biologically his own. Because his ex-partner denied his efforts to carry out testing, he paid child support dating back to the child’s birth in 1988. While this was a shock to all involved, an added whirlwind was the accumulation of child support payments that amounted to $36,000 — all of which had been garnished despite the DNA proof to Missouri Child Support enforcement.

Since most cases are hardly black and white, it is easy to see why the legal side to paternity testing can seem overwhelming. The website for Missouri Courts explains that residents who believe they are the biological father of a child can file a “Father’s Petition for Declaration of Paternity, Child Custody and/or Support” form; this form then goes to a circuit court where the co-parent or child lives. When it comes to parentage cases, a judge or commissioner generally oversees the communication between all parties involved, and ultimately reaches a decision at the end of a hearing. From there, parents either form new arrangements for the child or turn to a judge or commissioner to arrange the future parenting plan.

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