Paternity disputes can be some of the most difficult domestic relations issues with which to deal. There may be a dispute as to who is the biological father. These situations can be both happy and frustrating at the same time. Even if the father has not been involved in the child’s or the mother’s life, both he and the mother may be responsible for the costs of birthing and raising the child, including medical expenses, medical insurance, birth costs, prenatal care, and child support. Health insurance orders can be made by the court, as well.
Paternity issues may also arise in divorce cases, when a child is born before the date of marriage, or where a third party is alleged to be the father of one of the children, called a “putative father.” In this circumstance, the court may order genetic or DNA testing to determine the child’s true father. The results of the paternity test can determine whether the divorcing husband has to pay child support to the mother, or whether the third party is responsible for the child.
Paternity issues also arise in the context of a mother who is applying for state aid in Missouri. The state may send out orders for genetic testing to determine the child’s father, and whether that father has the financial resources to support the child.