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What are a single mothers rights in Missouri?

Saint Louis, MO |

I am a single mother and was never married to the father of my child. There was an Affadavid of Paternity signed at the hospital and he was added to the birth certificate. I am in a difficult situation because he has not contributed to assisting with this child. He has another child from his previous marriage and is behind on child support.

I am curious as to what rights he has as being her paternal father? I know by law right now I have sole custody until he files a motion in court.

If he decides to go to court is it mandatory for him to start paying child support and do I have any say in the visitation rights? I feel very uncomfortable with the child being with him unsupervised.

Thank You

I took on the responsibility of caring for his children even the ones that aren't mine due to his lack of motivation and interest.

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Attorney answers 1


You can file with the state of Missouri for an administrative order that would require him to pay child support and possibly provide health insurance for the child. These administrative orders do not deal with custody or visitation. You do not have to hire a lawyer for the administrative order, and the state does not charge you for these orders.
If he wants to get visitation, he would have to file a paternity/custody action with the courts. You would have the right to participate in the court proceeding and have input on the terms of visitation. The court would also deal with child support.



Is that true? That being a single mom and never married to the father that I legally have custody? I am in a similar situation and am very confused as to what my rights are and what steps I need to take to get custody and child support started. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.

Margaret Susan Price

Margaret Susan Price


If you only want to get child support and possibly health insurance started, you can do that through the state at no cost to you. You would contact the Family Support Center in Jefferson City, Missouri. If you want to also deal with custody matters, you would need to file a paternity action, for which I recommend you see an experienced family lawyer. For more information on custody and child support issues, see my FAQ page, at:

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