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West County Family Law
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Ballwin, MO 63021
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West County Family Law - Blog
Joel Case & Sally Rajnoha
In Missouri, issues regarding establishment of paternity, child support, and custody of children born out of wedlock are governed by the
Missouri Uniform Parentage Act (MoUPA). Either parent can file a Petition in the Circuit Court in order to establish paternity and for orders of
custody and child support.
A parent wanting to establish paternity and obtain financial support only may instead go through the State of Missouri’s Family Support
Division. Custody plans are not dealt with by this agency; therefore, an action must be brought in the court to establish a visitation or custody
An action to establish paternity may be brought at any time for a child who has a presumed father. What is a “presumed father”?
Section 210.822 of the Missouri Uniform Parenting Act states:
1. A man shall be presumed to be the natural father of a child if:
(1) He and the child's natural mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage, or within three
hundred days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or dissolution, or after a decree of separation is
entered by a court; or
(2) Before the child's birth, he and the child's natural mother have attempted to marry each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent
compliance with the law, although the attempted marriage is or may be declared invalid, and:
(a) If the attempted marriage may be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage or within three (3) After the child's birth, he and the child's natural mother have married or attempted to marry each other by a marriage solemnized in
hundred days after its termination by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity or dissolution; or
(b) If the marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within three hundred days after the termination of cohabitation; or
apparent compliance with law, although the marriage is or may be declared invalid, and:
(a) He has acknowledged his paternity of the child in writing filed with the bureau; or(4) An expert concludes that the blood tests show that the alleged parent is not excluded and that the probability of paternity is ninety-eight
(b) With his consent, he is named as the child's father on the child's birth certificate; or
(c) He is obligated to support the child pursuant to a written voluntary promise or by court order; or
percent or higher, using a prior probability of 0.5.
2. A presumption pursuant to this section may be rebutted in an appropriate action only by clear and convincing evidence, except that a
presumption under subsection 1 of this section that arises from a blood test or the filing of an acknowledgment of paternity in a state or
territory in which the blood test or the filing creates a conclusive presumption by law also has conclusive effect in Missouri. If two or more
presumptions arise which conflict with each other, the presumption which on the facts is founded on the weightier considerations of policy and
logic controls. The presumption is rebutted by a court decree establishing the paternity of the child by another man.
WHEN? Remember, an action to establish the existence or nonexistence of a presumed father-child relationship may be brought at any time
by one of the parties named above who has standing to bring such an action.
NO PRESUMED FATHER?
If there is no presumed father, an action to determine the existence of the father/child relationship is typically brought by the child’s mother,
the Family Support Division, or a man alleging himself to be the father. In some situations a guardian or custodian may initiate the action.
WHEN? If there is no presumed father, an action to establish the existence or nonexistence of a presumed father-child relationship must be
brought no later than eighteen (18) years after the birth of the child. A child who has no presumed father may bring their own action within
three (3) years after attaining age eighteen (18).
This is general information provided to answer some of your initial questions. Paternity actions are very complicated and time sensitive.
Consult with a qualified attorney to find out more information relating to your situation.