RSMo. § 210.826.1
There is a common misconception that a Paternity Suit or Paternity Action is used to confirm that an alleged Father is actually the Father of a particular child/ren.
In all actuality, the Paternity Action is simply the name of the lawsuit that one brings when they have children in common with someone they were never married to and are no longer living together and/or are no longer in a relationship and a plan is now needed to determine both Physical and Legal Custody.
PATERNITY SUITS ARISE MOST COMMONLY IN 2 SITUATIONS:
1. The relationship between the parents has ended, they were never married to each other, and the Mother wants to seek child support from the Father. The State cannot lawfully order child support against the Father without first making a finding that he is in fact the natural Father of the child in need of support.
i. Genetic testing establishing he is the Father (Think Maury)
ii. The Father’s signed and notarized acknowledgement that he is in fact the natural and biological Father
iii. Evidence put on by Mother that Father has voluntarily and notoriously held the child out to be his own as though he is the natural and biological Father of the child
2. The other most common situation when a Paternity Action becomes necessary is, again the relationship between the parents has ended, and Mother has decided she no longer wants Father to see the child with any regularity and conflict ensues.