Families may benefit greatly by knowing the identity of a child’s father. Determining paternity grants them access to the medical and genetic history of the father, allowing them to learn about any medical conditions or diseases that the child could inherit. It may also mean that the father has the right to be involved in raising the child, helping to provide for the child’s needs. However, sometimes a man is wrongfully labeled the biological father, and he could file a suit to challenge paternity.
Medical evidence is heavily relied on to establish paternity, but while these tests are largely accurate, they sometimes provide incorrect results. A man could challenge paternity results if the lab test was tainted or fraudulent. A tainted test is grounds for a suit if the lab has made errors before and produces substandard work on a regular basis. Fraudulence may exist if there is evidence that someone else was sent to take the DNA test on behalf of the alleged father.
Men could also challenge paternity results if there is proof of someone tampering with the results or proof that they cannot have children because they are infertile. A man who believes that his wife was unfaithful in their marriage and that a child born to her was a result of that infidelity has legitimate grounds to challenge paternity, as husbands are presumed to be the fathers of children born to their wives during their marriages.
While there are many reasons for fathers to challenge paternity, mothers could challenge paternity for some of these same reasons. Those who believe that paternity results are inaccurate or otherwise wrong may not understand all of their rights or know how to file paternity actions. A family law attorney could help them weigh their options and navigate the litigation process.
Source: Findlaw, “Challenging Paternity“, November 25, 2014