Frequently Asked Questions About Paternity Disputes

If you are currently in the middle of a divorce, one issue that is likely to come up is paternity. Paternity will affect other aspects of a divorce, including child custody, visitation, and support. The best way to approach the issue of paternity is by consulting a divorce attorney on the following questions:

When Is Paternity Established?

You should ask your divorce attorney how paternity is established. In many jurisdictions, paternity is established when the child is born during the marriage or before marriage. In the latter, the parents have to get married later to bind the child to the parents legally.

In some cases, paternity is established when the mother and father sign an acknowledgment form at the hospital after a DNA test is conducted. It is crucial to determine the specific rules for establishing paternity in your jurisdiction.

What Are The Grounds For Challenging Paternity?

Many paternity proceedings are based on medical evidence that shows who a child's father is. In most cases, the tests are accurate, but sometimes they can be flawed. The grounds for challenging paternity include tainted lab results, fraudulent lab results, and proof that the test results were manipulated.

Other grounds include proof of sterility or infertility and proof of the mother's infidelity. Since the laws on challenging paternity vary from state to state, you should ask your divorce lawyer about the grounds for challenging paternity that are accepted in your state.

How Is Paternity Disestablished?

There are laws in many states that lay out how a male can disestablish the paternity of a child. Ask your divorce attorney the rules on disestablishing divorce in your state. In many cases, the father must file a petition for all concerned parties, including the Department of Revenue.

If the court has ordered a child support obligation, then the father should present an affidavit. This will show any new evidence that the father discovered after the establishment of child support. The father is also supposed to submit DNA tests disputing the initial paternity results. Also, the father has to show they have either been current or delinquent on their child support obligations. 

In Conclusion

DNA tests are usually admissible as evidence for a child's biological father. The courts will assume that a person is the child's biological father if the test results have a high probability value. However, since paternity disputes are common in divorce proceedings, you should consult a divorce lawyer to ensure you are fully prepared.