If you are not married to the parent of your child, you must establish paternity with a court order to enforce parental rights and obligations related to the child. Being listed on the birth certificate does not give the biological father any legal rights to a child. It only creates a presumption of paternity. If you are the father, filing a paternity action is necessary for you to establish a specific parenting plan with the child. For mothers, a paternity action will determine the amount of child support to be paid through wage withholding.
In a paternity case, you will want to request that DNA testing be conducted if there is any doubt about who is the child's biological father. Usually, the person who is requesting a DNA test will be ordered to pay for it, or costs may be split between the parties.
DNA testing is not required in every case. If there is no doubt about the identity of the biological father, the father may sign an acknowledgment of paternity. This may be done at the hospital where a child is born so that the father's name can be listed on the child's birth certificate. An acknowledgment of paternity can be revoked within 60 days as long as there has not been a court determination of paternity. After 60 days, a father must petition the court to revoke an acknowledgment of paternity based on fraud, duress or mistaken fact.
If you have been served with paperwork in a paternity case, you may file an answer and request DNA testing to contest a finding of paternity. Do not ignore the paperwork or agree to sign an acknowledgment of paternity if you may want to contest paternity.
Make sure that you take a test that will be recognized by a court. A court order for DNA testing will specify where you will need to take a DNA test. While there are many companies that offer DNA testing and paternity testing services, the results of these tests may not be recognized by a court. Don't waste your time and money by taking a test that will not be admissible as evidence if you want to dispute paternity.
If you have questions about filing a petition to establish paternity or if you were served with paperwork in a paternity case in Kansas or Missouri, contact Rundberg Law, LLC for more information.