Will I Be Legally Responsible For a Child If I Get My Partner Pregnant?

man curious about pregnancy and adoption plan

An unplanned pregnancy is a shock not only for a woman but also for her partner. The news is mixed with unbelief, confusion, and fear. Are you wondering if you will be financially or legally responsible? The decision is in your partner’s hands.

What Is My Responsibility?

In Missouri, you are legally liable to financially care for a child you have fathered until the child reaches 18. If the child goes to college or a trade school, your financial responsibility can extend to 21. Your responsibility to financially support a disabled child lasts for the entire child’s life. 

If you choose to challenge your paternity, the courts can require DNA testing. Penalties for not paying child support could mean jail time.

What If She Decides to Parent?

Ultimately, your partner has the final say on how to handle the unplanned pregnancy. Single parenting is challenging, but many women do it every day. Are you interested in marriage or willing to co-parent? 

A father’s involvement in his child’s life is critical. Studies show the lack of a father causes many problems for a child. 

Children who grow up fatherless are more likely to:

  • Live in poverty
  • Abuse drugs and alcohol
  • Have poor physical and mental health
  • Have less success in school
  • Be involved in crime
  • Experience teen pregnancy

In addition to being financially responsible to your child, you are physically, emotionally, and morally accountable. Like it or not, you are a father and should never walk away from fatherhood.

What If She Chooses to Make an Adoption Plan?

Placing the child for adoption could be a perfect solution if neither of you is ready to parent. 

For an adoption to be legal in Missouri, the courts want both birth parents to sign the agreement. Sometimes, it is possible to complete an adoption without the father’s signature, depending on certain circumstances. 

When you sign, you can either admit paternity and agree to the adoption, or you can deny paternity but still agree. However, voluntarily placing your child for adoption means you are a good, pro-active father. 

You have no financial responsibilities when placing a child for adoption. All of the mother’s medical and legal costs are covered. She may also receive assistance for other pregnancy-related expenses such as food, housing, and transportation.

Adoption is emotionally difficult and requires a great deal of counseling and support. But as the birth parents, you can be involved in selecting the adoptive couple and the potential future you wish to give your child. 

That future can include a two-parent family, better opportunities, and the loving care you want your child to receive. You also benefit from the opportunity to build a relationship with your child as they grow.

What Is the Bottom Line?

We understand you are in a difficult situation. Actions have consequences, and sometimes those aren’t easy. If you and your partner want to learn more about making an adoption plan, send us a message online or call 1-888-564-HOPE (4673).

Talking with us doesn’t mean you’re committing to adoption. It takes time to choose this option. In the meantime, give your partner the careful support she deserves. Keep the lines of communication open and work together to develop the best solution.

Contact us now to set your appointment.

This blog is for informational purposes only. This is not legal or medical advice. While we try our best to reflect current laws with accuracy at the time of writing, please note the laws can change over time.

What Questions Can We Answer?

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Elizabeth and A Gift of Hope have been a touchstone during our adoption process. Having had issues with a previous agency – Elizabeth was a breath of fresh air! Reassuring, supportive and empathetic. We are so in love with our daughter and thank A Gift of Hope everyday for her!

AGOHA is a great agency that has provided amazing support and guidance though the adoption process. Would highly recommend AGOHA!

Our family has used their services for adoption. It’s wonderful dealing with someone who is looking out for the whole child, not just placing kids.

A Gift of Hope Adoptions is a Godsend for so many expectant young mothers. I completely recommend this organization for anyone interested in providing a wonderful life for their soon-to-be baby. This organization is also a Godsend for those of us who cannot have our own biological children.

I have recommended A Gift of Hope Adoptions to several mother’s considering adoptions for their babies. They have been so happy to feel supported and empowered through their decision.
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“We adopted both of our sons through A Gift of Hope Adoptions. They helped us every step of the way and answered all the questions we had, and we had a lot! We would not be where we are today, with two busy boys in our family, if it wasn’t for A Gift of Hope.”

“We decided to use A Gift of Hope Adoptions because they are very personal and caring. The wait and uncertainty of adoption seemed daunting, but A Gift of Hope helped make the process go smoothly, and we couldn’t be happier with our beautiful child.”