Is My Ex Entitled to a DNA Test?

This is a common question asked by many mothers who get served with a motion for DNA test by their ex.  The first reaction may be shock, which shortly turns into anger and disbelief at the implication that the mother was likely sleeping around with someone else at the time the child was conceived.  It is a similar reaction as to when a father is asking for custody/parenting time of your child even though only 9 months earlier he was asking for an abortion.

 

Whatever the practical and emotional aspect of such an implication may be, the reality is that if there is no Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity signed by the father or a divorce decree, the alleged father will be granted a request for a DNA test if he asks for it.  The father may just agree to forego a DNA test, but absent an agreement, he is entitled to a DNA test to prove that he is the father.  Similarly, a DNA test will also bring the mother peace of mind and the father will not hold the likelihood of him not being the father of the child over her head for the next 18 years or more.

 

If, however, the father signed a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity at the hospital and his name appears on the birth certificate, a request for a DNA test will likely be denied as he has already admitted that he is the father.  There are some exceptions, such as if he files a Motion to Vacate the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity within 60 days, or if he can somehow prove that he was fraudulently induced into signing the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity.  Other than these two options, if the father finds out by other means that he is not the father, he is not likely to get out of the admission that he is the legal father of the child and obligated to pay child support.

 

The other avenue by which a DNA test will be denied is if the parties were married and divorced, and in the divorce, both the mother and father admitted that the child was born to them.  The courts have come to find that a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage that incorporates this statement is an admission and serves as a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity.  As such, if you have doubts that a child born within your marriage is not yours, you may request a DNA test up until the point where a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage is entered.

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