Kansas City Attorney Advocates for Clients During Paternity Matters
Missouri Firm Works to Resolve Questions Relating to Legal Fatherhood
Children deserve the emotional and financial support of both parents, and each parent should have the legal right to spend time with their son or daughter. In some cases, legal action is necessary to establish a man’s paternity so that he is given the rights and responsibilities associated with fatherhood. At Howard L. Lotven, P.C. in Kansas City, I am a family lawyer with more than 35 years of experience handling cases arising from disputes over paternity as well as related issues such as child support and fathers’ rights. Whether you are looking to prove or disprove a claim of fatherhood, my firm will outline the relevant law and help you pursue an appropriate resolution.
Jackson County Advocate Outlines Laws Concerning Parental Rights
Under Missouri law, unwed fathers are not automatically granted parental rights, even if they have been in a long-term exclusive relationship with the child’s mother. If both parents sign an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity at the hospital or later submit one to the Bureau of Vital Records, the man is named as the legal father. This is a relatively simple process, but if one party is unwilling to agree on parentage, he or she can be compelled to undergo testing.
Lawyer Advises on Child Support and Custody Concerns Associated with Paternity
My firm represents many fathers who require a legal determination in order to play a meaningful role in their child’s life. Along with the importance of the emotional bond, establishing paternity can be critical in matters involving:
- Custody and visitation — Without legal paternity, access to one’s child could be threatened if a dispute exists with their mother or legal guardian. Once fatherhood is confirmed, you can petition for child custody and visitation rights that can be enforced in court if necessary.
- Child support — A mother who has completely met the financial needs of her child is entitled to receive child support from the man who is legally declared the father of her son or daughter.
- Medical and legal benefits — Legal parents can include a child within their health insurance coverage and might also help them get other types of assistance, such as Social Security benefits, tuition discounts, and scholarships provided through the parent’s employer. In certain instances, a parent or child can seek legal relief when the other has been seriously harmed.
Questions related to paternity can be complex and highly contested. I will take the time to explain the process and will work to eliminate unnecessary conflicts and distractions.
Firm Represents Mothers and Prospective Legal Fathers in Paternity Actions
A child’s mother, the prospective father, a legal representative for the child (sometimes referred to as a “next friend”) or the state can bring a paternity action. Usually, questions about parentage are resolved by comparing the DNA of the parties. Several types of testing exist to help determine the fatherhood of a boy or girl. Even if a child has not been born yet, prenatal testing to determine who the father is can occur once the mother has been pregnant for about seven weeks. If you’re not certain about initiating legal action, informational paternity tests are available. After seeing the result, you might then choose to have a legally admissible paternity test administered.
Adviser Outlines Types of DNA Tests Used to Determine Parentage
Information that comes to light after a man has been granted legal paternity could justify further investigation regarding the child’s parentage. If you’re going through a divorce and suspect that you might not be the father of someone whom you’ve treated as a son or daughter, it’s important to remember that prior paternity decisions can be overturned if sufficient evidence is demonstrated. My firm can help secure the proper DNA testing so that you are not unjustly required to provide support for a child whose father is someone else.
Contact a Thorough Missouri Attorney for A Free Consultation About a Paternity Issue
Howard L. Lotven, P.C. assists residents of northwest Missouri who seek legal counsel regarding a dispute over the legal paternity of a child. Please call or contact me online to arrange a free initial consultation regarding your circumstances and options.