The Rights of Unmarried Parents - Missouri

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Definitions

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 210.817; 210.818; 210.819; 210.822

The term 'parent and child relationship' means the legal relationship existing between a child and the child's parents on which the law confers or imposes rights, privileges, duties, and obligations. The parent and child relationship extends equally to every child and every parent, regardless of the marital status of the parents.

The parent and child relationship between the child and the birth parent may be established by proof that they gave birth to the child. The parent and child relationship between the child and the natural other parent may be established under the provisions of §§ 210.817 to 201.852.

A person shall be presumed to be the other parent of a child if any of following apply:

  • The parents are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated.
  • Before the child's birth, the parents have attempted to marry each other, although the attempted marriage is or may be declared invalid, and either of the following apply:
    • If the attempted marriage may be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage or within 300 days after its termination.
    • If the marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation.
  • After the child's birth, the parents have married or attempted to marry each other, although the marriage is or may be declared invalid, and any of the following apply:
    • They have acknowledged parentage of the child.
    • With their consent, they are named as the child's other parent on the child's birth certificate.
    • They are obligated to support the child pursuant to a written voluntary promise or by court order.
  • An expert concludes that blood tests show that the alleged parent is not excluded and that the probability of parentage is 98 percent or higher.

Use of Parentage Registries

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 192.016

The Department of Health and Senior Services shall establish a putative father registry that shall record the names and addresses of the following:

  • Any person adjudicated by a court of this State to be the other parent of a child born out of wedlock
  • Any person who has filed a notice of intent to claim parentage of the child with the registry before or after the birth of a child out of wedlock
  • Any person adjudicated by a court of another State or territory of the United States to be the other parent of an out-of-wedlock child, where a certified copy of the court order has been filed with the registry by such person or any other person

An unrevoked notice of intent to claim parentage of a child may be introduced in evidence by any party other than the person who filed such notice in any proceeding in which such fact may be relevant.

Lack of knowledge of the pregnancy does not excuse the failure to file a claim of parentage in a timely manner pursuant to § 453.030. Failure to file in a timely manner shall result in the forfeiture of a person's right to withhold consent to an adoption proceeding unless the following apply:

  • The person was led to believe any of the following through the birth parent's misrepresentation or fraud:
    • The person was not pregnant, when in fact they were.
    • The pregnancy was terminated, when in fact the baby was born.
    • After the birth, the child died, when in fact the child is alive.
  • The person, upon the discovery of the misrepresentation or fraud, satisfied the requirements of § 453.030(3)(b) or (c) within 15 days of that discovery.

Alternate Means to Establish Parentage

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 210.826; 210.834

An action may be brought at any time for the purpose of declaring the existence or nonexistence of the parent and child relationship presumed under § 210.822(1), by any of the following:

  • The child
  • The child's birth parent
  • A person presumed to be the child's other parent
  • A person alleging themself to be the other parent
  • Any person having physical or legal custody of a child for a period of more than 60 days
  • The Family Support Division

An action to determine the existence of the parent and child relationship with respect to a child who has no presumed other parent may be brought by any of the following:

  • The child
  • The birth parent or the person who has legal custody of the child
  • Any person having physical or legal custody of a child for a period of more than 60 days
  • The Family Support Division
  • The personal representative or a parent of the birth parent if they have died
  • A person alleging to be the other parent
  • The personal representative or a parent of the alleged other parent if they have died or is a minor

The court may require the child, birth parent, alleged or presumed other parent, and any person who testifies about their sexual relations with the birth parent at the possible time of conception to submit to blood tests. Whenever the court finds that the results of the blood tests show that a person presumed or alleged to be the other parent of the child is not the genetic parent of such child, such evidence shall be conclusive of nonparentage.

Required Information

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 192.016

A person filing a notice of intent to claim parentage of a child or an acknowledgment of parentage shall file the acknowledgment affidavit form developed by the State registrar. The form shall include the minimum requirements prescribed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 652(a)(7).

A person filing a notice of intent to claim parentage of a child shall notify the registry of any change of address.

Revocation of Claim to Parentage

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 192.016

A person who has filed a notice of intent to claim parentage may at any time revoke a notice of intent to claim parentage that was previously filed and, upon receipt of such notification by the registry, the revoked notice of intent to claim parentage shall be deemed null and void.

Access to Information

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 192.016; 453.014(1)

The department shall, upon request and within 2 business days of such request, provide the names and addresses of persons listed with the registry to the following:

  • Any court or authorized agency
  • The Children's Division of the Department of Social Services
  • A licensed child-placing agency
  • The child's parents
  • An intermediary, including an attorney, a physician, or a member of the clergy of the parents

Such information shall not be divulged to any other person, except upon order of a court for good cause shown.