65 Madison Ave · Suite 420 · Morristown, NJ · 07960

¡Attention TAC People!

Press 'p' on your keyboard to make this palette go away.

Max width: 1200px
Color Hex R G B
Blue from Logo#003d65 0 61 101
Darker Blue#021020 2 16 32
Red from Logo#780500 120 5 0
Darker Red#400000 64 0 0
Gray from Modern Firm Site#f3f2ed 243 242 237
Bright, Light Blue#ccebff 204 235 255
Form Input Background Blue#accfe6 172 207 230
Slightly Darker Blue#002e4d 0 46 77
Slightly Darker Gray#e6e5e0 0 46 77
Darker Gray#cccbc7 0 46 77
Lighter Logo Blue#005c99 204 235 255
Login Link Blue#598fb3 89 143 179
Slighty Lighter Red#99150f 153 21 15
Slighty Darker Gray#b3b2ae 179 178 174
Hunter Green#013b23 1 59 35
Lighter Green #025935 ? ? ?
Beige Charcoal #1f1e1e ? ? ?
"Metallic Gold" #D4AF37 ? ? ?
"Darker Green" #012e1b ? ? ?

What Is The Standard That Must Be Met To Compel Genetic Testing To Prove Parentage When There Is A P

Sometimes, often several years after the birth of a couple’s child, the parties suspect or learn that the husband is not their child’s biological father. The Supreme Court of New Jersey confronted this very issue in the October 2012 decision D.W. v. R.W., 212 N.J. 232. In D.W., the parties were married in 1979 and three children were born during their marriage. However, their youngest child was conceived as a result of the wife’s affair with her brother in law. The wife filed for divorce in 2006. Therein, the husband moved to compel his wife and the child (who was 19 years old at the time) to submit to genetic testing (the husband had already obtained results from a privately commissioned DNA test that excluded him as the child’s biological father). The husband also sought reimbursement from the biological father for the monies the husband spent raising the child. This was an issue of first impression for the New Jersey Supreme Court.

The New Jersey Parentage Act, N.J.S.A. 9:17-38 to -59 ensures that children receive the financial support from their parents to which they are entitled. A husband is presumed to be the father of a child born during the parties’ marriage. This presumption “may be rebutted in an appropriate action only by clear and convincing evidence.” N.J.S.A. 9:17-43(b). A genetic test demonstrating non-paternity would meet the aforesaid “clear and convincing evidence” standard. If a party to a paternity action requests genetic testing and submits a sworn statement establishing a reasonable possibility that he is or is not the father of a child, then the Court must order a genetic test unless the party opposed to such testing presents “good cause” for not ordering the test. Whether “good cause” is shown depends on a balancing between the child’s best interests and the interests of the party seeking genetic testing.

The factors that must be considered in a court’s good-cause determination whether to grant or deny genetic testing are as follows:

•1) Length of time between proceeding to adjudicate parentage and time that the presumed or acknowledged father was placed on notice that he might not be the genetic father;

•2) Length of time during which the presumed or acknowledged father has assumed the role of father of the child;

•3) Facts surrounding the presumed or acknowledged father’s discovery of his possible non-paternity;

•4) Nature of relationship between the child and the presumed or acknowledged father;

•5) Nature of relationship between the child and any alleged father;

•6) Age of child;

•7) Degree of physical, mental, and emotional harm that may result to the child if presumed or acknowledged paternity is successfully disproved;

•8) Extent to which the passage of time reduces the chances of establishing the paternity of another man and a child support obligation in favor of the child;

•9) Extent, if any, to which uncertainty of parentage exists in the child’s mind;

•10) Child’s interest in knowing family and genetic background, including medical and emotional history;

•11) Other factors that may affect the equities arising from the disruption of the father-child relationship between the child and the presumed or acknowledged father or the chance of other harm to the child.

In D.W., the Supreme Court held that the only way to overcome the presumption of paternity was through genetic testing and the Court ordered the testing to be completed.

Begin Your Conversation

  • Disclaimer: Contacting our firm via the internet does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information through this form.

Contact Our Morris County Office

866-957-2982

973-828-0829

Morristown / Morris County Law Office

65 Madison Ave

Suite 420

Morristown, NJ 07960

Morris County Mediation Office Map