Do not unnecessarily request paternity testing.

Posted October 3rd, 2016.

Categories: Child Custody, Custody Tips, Family Law.

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It sometimes seems like a smart idea to deny paternity. Especially in new child custody cases, it is not uncommon for the father to deny that he fathered the children, or for the mother to assert that the alleged father is not the biological father of the children. Often, however, it seems that these paternity challenges are fueled by anger, malice, delay tactics, or a desire to avoid co-parenting or child support payments.

Yet, if paternity is already known, because the circumstantial evidence can only lead to one practical conclusion, then it may be a waste of time and money, and it may undermine your legal position to even request a paternity test.

Consider, for example, the father who denies paternity at the outset of a case. After paternity is confirmed through DNA testing, he struggles to obtain parenting time with the children as the mother continuously reminds the court that he denied paternity without just cause. What about the mother who says, “they’re not his kids. I want him tested!” After the children turn out to be “his kids,” the father reminds the court for the next 18 years that the mother repudiated his paternity, with no basis whatsoever.

Using paternity as a sword and a shield can backfire if there’s no reasonable question about who fathered the children. DNA testing should not be requested to delay the case, to buy more time, to avoid child support, or to maliciously raise the costs of litigation. It should not be sought on a whim or on a hope.

Of course, paternity testing is available to address legitimate questions of uncertainty about a child’s father. Nothing in this blog is intended to turn away parents who have genuine concerns about who fathered the children. But before asking a judge to order paternity testing, parents should think twice about the evidence for and against paternity and the real motive for making the request.

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