You are about to have a child and you are not married to the father. There are a variety of reasons why you might not think it is necessary to establish paternity for your child; for example, you may not know who the true father is, the father may have been absent during your pregnancy or the father may not even know that you’re pregnant. However, no matter the situation between you and your child’s father, establishing paternity can often be beneficial for you and the child, especially if you need support. 

Child Support

This is the most important reason for establishing paternity. The state of Missouri requires both parents to support their children. Even if you can take care of your child on your own, you may be able to get assistance for the wellbeing of your child.


The father would be able to gain visitation or possibly share custody if he is legally the father. This could be a good idea if the father wants to be in the child’s life, depending on the relationship you have with the father. It would also allow him to spend time with the child even if you want it kept at a minimum.


Your child could gain benefits from the father, including insurance, social security, and Veterans Affairs benefits. This could give your child more security in the future. Other benefits include having the ability to put the father’s name on the birth certificate and the option to run tests with the father or access to medical history in case your child becomes ill.

Establishing paternity can provide your child with additional support and the potential to have a relationship with his or her father. How it happens depends on whether the father wants to be part of the child’s life sometime after the birth or does not want to recognize him or her as his own. The child has the right to a relationship with both parents and it is important to consider establishing paternity so your child can get as many benefits as possible.