Sadly, I hear these type of stories often. Do any of these sound familiar?
At first, I thought (and assumed) the child was mine but I've learned that she cheated and now I'm having doubts;
A woman from my past reached out and told me we have a child together but I'm not sure if the child is mine;
The child doesn't look like me at all and although she says it's mine, I'm having doubts
These doubts occur frequently in Family Law cases. A big reason is probably because feelings are so hurt and the parties are so distrustful of each other that they begin to question every little thing said and done during the relationship which frequently leads to the question of paternity
What should I do if I have doubts about paternity?
File for a paternity test ASAP! The sooner the better. The older the child gets, the more cautious the Courts are about ordering paternity tests. They realize that as a child gets older, they realize what's going on and the Courts don't want a child participating in a paternity test unless it's necessary and justified. Especially if it's a situation where you've been involved in the child's life but now are suddenly having doubts, the Court is mindful of that. Remember, everything in Family Court is viewed through a lens called the best interest of the child.
Can the Court deny my request for a paternity test?
Yes, the Court could deny your request for a paternity test. I know, that sounds crazy but it's true. The situations where the Court typically denies the request are:
You signed the birth certificate but for no reason now have doubts. By for no reason, I mean she hasn't admitted to cheating / no proof or allegations of her cheating. You simply have a gut feeling. That may not be enough.
You've always had doubts but never raised the issue and now the child is a teenager and you want a test. This is the situation where I most frequently see the Court deny your request for a paternity test.
You've never been on child support but now that mom is asking for college contribution, you have doubts and want a paternity test (yes, I've seen this one too!)
Is there a cost for the test?
Yes. Usually the Courts order the requesting parent to pay for the test for everyone (I believe the Court approved test runs about $40-50 per person but the Court staff can provide you this specific information). However, if it's a situation where it's a joint paternity request from both parents, the Court could order you guys to split the cost. If the test determines you are not the father, the Court can order mom to reimburse you the cost of the test.
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The contents of this blog entry are provided for informational purposes only. You should consult with an attorney to determine how the law applies to the facts of your particular case. Reading this blog entry does not create an attorney-client relationship with Kelly McGriff Law.