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Before child support, be informed about paternity

37913327_S.jpgA man's bond with his child can be incredibly strong. For some dads, however, they may have a nagging feeling that the child they are raising is not their true biological child. Other men are willing to live with the uncertainty and try to keep a strong, stable presence in the child's life. However, for Missouri men, this attitude can come with long-term impacts, such as paying child support for a child who is not one's biological child.

There are shades of misattributed paternity, also known as paternity fraud. Some women knowingly deceive a man, understanding that the child is likely the product of an affair, but they choose to stay with their husband and keep the family together. Other women may truly have an incorrect belief about their child's parentage or simply be confused about the date of conception. 

Men who sign the birth certificate or otherwise take parental responsibility for a child without the proof of DNA testing take certain risks. One risk is being saddled with the financial responsibility for a child who does not belong to them. Another risk is forming a close bond with a child only to find out later, perhaps after a divorce, that one is not the father and lose custody rights. 

In order to prevent future problems, men are encouraged to request a DNA test before assuming parental responsibility. When claims of child support arise, a man will likely want to prove that he is the father before agreeing to long-term payments. In Missouri, parentage can affect both child support and child custody. Men who face paternity issues may wish to consult with an experienced family law attorney for more guidance on this issue. 

Source: t2conline.com, "Discover the Truth: The Best Strategy to Avoiding Paternity Fraud", May 14, 2018

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