New Jersey paternity law can range in complexity depending upon the facts of the case. It’s important for both parties to know their rights should a paternity issue arise.
Under relevant New Jersey laws, if paternity is contested, then there may be up to several Court proceedings. If the pregnancy has not yet occurred, then the Court may Order the anticipated biological Father to pay support pending a later paternity test. Once the child is born and a claim for paternity or a contested paternity claim is made, then the Court will likely order genetic paternity testing.
Depending upon the financial situation of the parties, the cost of this genetic testing may be the equal responsibility of the parties (50/50), or in some instances, the State may pay for the testing.
If paternity is proven, then the Court will likely provide (absent an agreement between the parties) provisions for parenting time, child support payments, medical insurance responsibilities and the like. If paternity is not proven, then the alleged Father rarely has any further responsibility to contribute toward the child.
If the parties are married, the Husband is presumed to be the biological Father. Likewise, it’s important for a party who contests paternity to, as soon as possible, take action or learn their rights and responsibilities, if any. *New Jersey case law has held that caring for a child and holding it out as your own may create a responsibility to that child, even if the child is not of one’s own blood.*
Paternity testing today is a simple procedure, and not invasive toward the parties or the children. Results today are fast and accurate, and almost assuredly will be conducted by licensed and respected labs if ordered by the Court.
As stated above, paternity law in New Jersey can be quite complex. For that reason, it is advisable to consult with an attorney if you are involved in a contested paternity suit or if you question the paternity of a child. The law and therefore the Courts will likely treat the case differently prior to the birth of the child versus later, after the child has been born and paternity testing can be ordered.
As always, the laws can change and every case is fact sensitive. Accordingly, it’s important to meet with an attorney or other appropriate professional rather than rely upon this or other blog or internet posts.
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