Under New Law Fathers Easier Time Challenge Paternity
Updated: Oct 17
An article I recently read covers the topic of child support payments in Missouri. The article stated that even if the fathers had DNA evidence proving they were not the biological father of the child, they were stuck paying child support until the child was 18. Prior to last year, many were forced to pay child support for children that were not biologically their own until the child turned 18. The new law allows men more opportunities to petition courts to order DNA testing and set aside paternity judgments and child support obligations within certain time frames after the child is born.
When the law first came into effect in the summer of 2009, it was expected that a inundation of petitions would be submitted to the courts and that a full day out of the month would need to be dedicated to handling the expected rush of new cases, but there has not been a large change in the number of petitions for DNA testing. The costs involved to petition the court are not cheap. One possible reason why this is happening is because a father may have to pay up to $1,200 to get the case into court and cover the cost of DNA testing.
The new law allows any man paying child support to file a challenge to the paternity question until December 31, 2011. After that, men will have two years to file such lawsuits after judgments of paternity or support have been entered to get the issue of paternity set aside. The previous law allowed such challenges for only a year and the father had to prove fraud. Although it should be noted that men who were found not to be the father still could be ordered to pay child support.
Lawyers caution that even though the father is absolved by DNA evidence, the court may still order the father to pay child support to the child. This is because the court’s use the best interest of the child standard. They will balance the interests of the child in whether or not to absolve a father of child support liability.
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