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New Jersey Supreme Court Rules Father Entitled To Genetic Testing

A New Jersey father questioned the paternity of his child and took his case all the way to the state’s Supreme Court in order to get a ruling on his request to have the child’s paternity genetically tested. The case comes from Morris County divorce and resulted in a 5-1 decision by the court. The man claimed that his youngest son was not his child but that of his brother-in-law. The brother-in-law never denied or admitted to being the child’s biological father. The husband of the child’s mother was seeking repayment from him for the money he spent in raising his brother-in-law’s child.

In the divorce case, the wife admitted to having an affair with her brother-in-law around the time the boy was conceived. The father commissioned a private genetic test that declared he was not the boy’s biological father. The boy is now an adult. Previously, lower courts had ruled the request for a genetic test would not be in the best interest of the child. Family courts in New Jersey and elsewhere always consider the best interest of the child when determining child custody and support issues during a divorce or separation.

The brief report on this story did not state whether or how the ruling would affect the man’s efforts at recovering past child support from his brother-in-law. Nor did the report touch on how the results of the testing changed the man’s relationship with the child, if at all. The ruling may affect other paternity cases where a father questions the paternity of a child well after the child’s birth.

Unlike this story, paternity testing often becomes an issue when two parents are not married and one is seeking child support from the father. Paternity testing is also used to secure the parental rights of an unmarried father who may be seeking custody or visitation rights with his child in a contentious breakup of the relationship with the mother of his child.

Source: 10 TV, “NJ Supreme Court: Parent entitled to genetic test,” Oct. 10, 2012

Our New Jersey law firm assists families in transition, whether through divorce or separation, or asserting one’s parental rights or challenging the paternity of a child, similar to the above story. Please visit the Paternity page of our website if you would like to learn more.