Sometimes during divorce proceedings, it may be necessary to prove a child's paternity in order to determine rights and responsibilities. On Oct. 10, The New Jersey Supreme Court went against lower courts and ruled that one father was entitled to receive help from the state in order to determine if he was actually the father of a boy he thought was his own for two decades. The decision also could also present a new opportunity for parents to recover money lost on child support for children that were not theirs.
The case centered on a man whose wife had an affair with his sister's ex-husband. The man insisted his youngest child was not in fact his. He spent 20 years believing he was the child's father and paying for the child before asking the court to prove paternity during his divorce.
Lower courts had previously ruled paternal testing would not be in the best interest of the child. The Supreme Court disagreed with the decision and stated the ruling went against the New Jersey Parentage Act.
It is important to establish paternity when going through a divorce to ensure that a child will receive support from both parents, and this ruling had the potential to open up new doors when it comes to fathers' rights and paternity testing. However, sometimes extenuating circumstances and questions regarding paternity may exist that calls into question just exactly who is responsible for the child. Child support cannot be waived in New Jersey and couples contemplating divorce should take this fact into consideration.
Source: NJ.com, "Court: Parents can get genetic test from state when paternity is in doubt," Salvador Rizzo, Oct. 10, 2012