Missouri paternity claims require quick action: know your rights

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Paternity on Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The general shape of an American family has changed dramatically over the past several decades. In earlier years, an “average” family was often portrayed like a Norman Rockwell painting: a mom, dad, and their two children gathered around the kitchen table with the family pet. This image no longer represents the grand majority of American families, as divorce and remarriage have become integral parts of the family structure.

Multiple partner fertility, a technical term for parents who are raising children from more than one relationship, is a growing part of the modern American family. A study from the University of Michigan revealed that almost 30 percent of US women have children fathered by different men. As this situation becomes increasingly common, more mothers and fathers are looking for help establishing their paternity rights, especially if their children are born outside of wedlock.

Researchers at the University of Michigan found that multiple partner fertility was more common among mothers who were not officially married to the fathers of their children before giving birth. As cohabitation becomes an increasingly popular option for many couples, this population of unmarried parents is quickly growing. Mothers and fathers who find themselves in this situation need to take certain legal measures in order to protect themselves and their children should their relationship end.

For instance, in the state of Missouri, unmarried fathers must submit a claim for paternity of a child within a certain period of time after the child’s birth or they may find their custody and visitation rights severely limited. Likewise, mothers of children born outside of wedlock must quickly submit their child support claims or risk losing their ability to demand financial support from their children’s father.

If you find yourself in this situation-either as a mother or a father-it’s incredibly important to contact a qualified family law attorney as quickly as possible to avoid missing your window of opportunity to protect your paternity rights.

Source: Spero News, “Who’s your daddy?: it’s complicated says U-Michigan study.” Diane Swanbrow, 12 April 2011

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