Determining paternity is important for a number of reasons, including the fact that the father of the child has a responsibility to support it, but also may have the right to be part of the child’s upbringing. Establishing paternity also gives the child access to the father’s medical history, which can be important to the child and the child’s family. In some instances, it may be necessary to challenge paternity, and either the mother or the father of the child can challenge paternity, such as in the circumstance when paternity fraud may be believed.
Though paternity testing is performed medically, at times it may produce erroneous results. Paternity is usually established through DNA testing. Paternity results may be erroneous if they are based on tainted lab results, fraudulent lab results, or paternity results that were tampered with in some way. Paternity may also be challenged based on proof that the father is infertile or sterile, or proof of the mother’s infidelity during the marriage. When a child is born into a marriage, the husband is presumed to be the father unless it is proven otherwise, such as through genetic testing.
The process for bringing a legal claim challenging paternity is similar to the process of bringing a civil lawsuit to establish paternity. The process, however, for challenging paternity varies by state so it is important to be familiar with the rules in the state where the parties reside. Medical records may be evaluated and blood and DNA tests, sometimes additional to original tests that may have been performed, may be ordered. Additional psychological and emotional factors may also be considered.
Following a civil suit to establish paternity or challenge paternity, the court issues an order establishing paternity. Once paternity is established, child support obligations and child custody rights can be addressed, which is why it is important for all parties involved that paternity is properly established.
Source: Family FindLaw, “Challenging Paternity,” Accessed Sept. 26, 2016