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One state's paternity case underscores complexity, emotion in area

The governing law on paternity -- including DNA testing, legitimation requirements to establish visitation and custody, establishing a father's identify to receive child support and so forth -- is decidedly state law, with processes and requirements varied among jurisdictions and unique to each state.

That said, a Georgia-related question or concern regarding any paternity-related issue should always be discussed with a Georgia family law attorney commanding extensive experience in legitimation and paternity matters.

A recent case involving a paternity dispute in New Jersey underscores the complexity in the area, as well as the emotions that often attach.

A court battle began in that state in 2006 and was just recently resolved through a ruling of the New Jersey Supreme Court. The facts are summarized as follows.

A man and woman had a child, now 28, during their marriage. The couple was divorced in 2006, and the man sought a paternity test, citing evidence that he was not the biological father. Two state courts denied the request, stating that a DNA test was not in the best interests of the offspring, then a 22-year-old man.

The state Supreme Court ruled otherwise last week, holding that any man in the state has a legal right to a DNA test if he can show a court evidence that there is a "reasonable possibility" that a child is not biologically his.

The "reasonable doubt" standard was applauded by the man's attorney, who called it an "excellent" test for future cases.

The man seeks recovery of all the costs he expended in raising the boy over 20 years from the man he says is the biological father.

Source: The Star-Ledger, "Court: Parents can get genetic test from state when paternity is in doubt," Salvador Rizzo, Oct. 10, 2012

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