Know the Do’s and Don’ts When it Comes to Refusing a Paternity Test in NJ
The process of determining paternity can be initiated by a man who believes they are the child’s father, the child’s mother or custodial parent, or the child whose paternity is in question.
Paternity is who is legally the father of a child. In New Jersey, fatherhood is typically established when a man and a woman have been married for at least ten months before the child’s birth. If the parents are not married, they must complete a parentage certificate, identifying themselves as the mother and father of the baby. The certificate is then given to a birth certificate coordinator, who will file it with the Department of Health and request that a birth certificate be conferred.
Can a Father Legally Refuse a DNA Test in New Jersey?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is more complex. A complaint is submitted to identify the paternity of the child. Family Part Intake Service will establish a hearing. What happens when the supposed father does not appear or does not acknowledge paternity? In that case, Family Part Intake Service will schedule a hearing with the Child Support Hearing Officer, who will recommend to the court that both individuals take a DNA test. The tests are expected within ten days of submitting the test order. If the alleged father denies taking a paternity test, he can be charged with contempt of court, leading to fines and even a criminal charge. Most of the time, if the father refuses to take a DNA test, the court will assume that the test results would not have favored the father, which is why he refused the test.
Can You Be Forced To Take a Paternity Test?
No one can take a swab or blood sample from a person under duress. Everyone has complete autonomy over their own body.
Paternity Tests Options in New Jersey
There are a few types of paternity tests utilized in New Jersey. The most common is a blood test where the blood from the father, mother, and baby is analyzed to determine parenthood. This is called the Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity Test and has an accuracy rate of 99.9%. The second is the CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling), which requires the insertion of a needle into the mother’s cervix to extract chorionic villi (tiny pieces of placental tissue containing the same genetic material as the fetus).
What If a Mother Refuses a Paternity Test?
Again, no one can be obligated to participate in genetic testing if they choose not to. Body autonomy comes first, but a man cannot be compelled to pay child support until paternity is proven, so it would behoove her to cooperate.
Possible Scenarios to Request A Paternity Test
A paternity test isn’t always requested by the mother alone. A man who believes he is the biological father or wants to disprove his paternity can request a trial. Someone who legally represents a child and can act on their behalf or a state social service agency investigating a problem with neglect. A child who is 18 years or older can also request a test.
Challenging Paternity in New Jersey
Anyone involved in the paternity of a child can challenge the established paternity as long as it takes place before the child’s 23rd birthday. The person challenging a legal presumption of paternity must present clear and convincing evidence.
When the court requires DNA testing, several factors affect the decision. For example, the nature and length of the relationship between the child and the supposed father, the age of the child, any harm that would come to the child upon knowing paternity as other than what has been stated all along, how the acknowledged father’s realization of his non-paternity came about, and others.
The parties should focus on these factors in either seeking DNA testing or asking the court to deny DNA testing.
What Taking a Paternity Test can Offer the Child
A child with a mother and a father lives a more well-rounded experience, able to have a relationship with relatives from both sides of the family, creating a sense of identity not given when a parent is absent. Child support cannot be determined until paternity is established and necessary resources. Also, having access to their medical history is of utmost importance to their health. Many hereditary conditions can be prevented if they are recognized early. A father’s health plan, social security benefits, inheritance, or life insurance benefits a child when paternity is established.
Are You in the Midst of a Paternity Case? Contact our Knowledgeable Paternity Lawyers in Freehold and Toms River, NJ
Have you been boxed out by the mother of your child because she won’t acquiesce to a paternity test? Do you need someone on your side? If you have custody issues, need help with child support, or assistance to determine paternity, the Bronzino Law Firm can provide you with the service you need. From child custody agreements to paternity determinations, our years of experience put us in the perfect position to provide you with the representation you require.
Wills, living trusts, and inheritance can all be affected by a change in paternity, and you need to protect your family’s rights. Deciding paternity can be an emotional experience, and we are sensitive to your situation. Our well-versed family law team’s attorneys are ready to serve your needs, as we so often do for clients in Berkeley, Colts Neck, Rumson, Belmar, Manasquan, Freehold, Middletown, and towns and across Ocean and Monmouth County, and the Jersey Shore.
Monmouth County Birth Fathers Do Have Rights
Typically, most decisions during pregnancy are made by the mom-to-be, including testing, healthcare and birth choices and the decision about adoption. Each of these is a very important and life-altering decision, especially for the life of the yet-to-be born child.
To gain parental rights, including child custody, or even the right to object to adoption, biological fathers who are not married to the mother must not only establish paternity, but also demonstrate a genuine commitment and fitness to parenting their child. In this article we will discuss the importance of establishing paternity, and then clarify what is meant by a “genuine commitment” and “fitness”. Finally, we will take a brief look at your options if you didn’t give consent to the adoption of your child.
A biological father who is not listed on a birth certificate can still establish paternity. Talk to a legal expert as at The Bronzino Law Firm, with offices conveniently location in both Monmouth and Ocean County. Paternity indicates your acknowledgement that you are the child’s father and that you agree to take legal responsibility for your child. Depending upon the circumstances, for example the relationship with the mother, taking custody can be an easy or challenging task. If the mother refuses to sign the affidavit of paternity, there is you have the option to request a DNA test that would establish paternity. Your lawyer can advise and facilitate your best options.
Demonstrating a commitment
This means demonstrating a larger and lifelong commitment to parenting. It includes showing that the father is prepared to provide for his child’s material and emotional needs, as well as to developing the fullest possible parental relationship with the child. Typically, this can be shown by contributing to cover child-related expenses for prenatal care, birth and child support after delivery. Contributing to the cost of prenatal healthcare is particularly important because this demonstrates your commitment to your child even before birth.
Although a birth father may want to check on the mother’s test results, be present at doctor’s appointments, or otherwise be involved with prenatal healthcare and birth; he can be prevented from participating if the mother does not approve. A father’s participation requires the consent of the mother. Under the privacy laws, neither spouses nor unwed parents are entitled to access the medical records of the other without authorization. However, once the child is born HIPAA allows either parent the right to see their child’s medical records.
Show yourself as “fit” to be a father and to parent
Fitness to parent is a multi-sided determination that is considered formally and has important legal ramifications. Often, when considering the fitness of the father to parent, a judge will want to know if there is any instance of abuse, addiction, incarceration, and/or psychological instability, to name a few. If an abusive trend is perceived, it unlikely that a person will be considered fit to parent, either mother or father. Another concern is to check to see if a child has or would suffer from neglect. To be fit you will need to show that you are willing and able to parent, that you will be there for the child and that you have a good and reliable support structure to care for the child.
Fathers who do not provide support during pregnancy and beyond, who cannot show the ability to provide support, or who have demonstrated drug/alcohol problems or a have a tendency to violence will almost certainly be denied the right to object to adoption.
Be active before and after birth
The extent to which an unmarried father has the opportunity to play a parental role in the child’s life often varies. However, by doing everything you can including acting with responsibility both before and after birth, demonstrating your genuine concerns for the best interests of your child and seeking legal recognition of your parental rights as soon as possible will all help you to establish your rights to have custody or a say in an adoption and/or in any other parental decisions.
What happens if you didn’t give consent?…
If the mother of an unborn child has discussed adoption and depending on circumstances and the laws, a father who objects to the adoption of his child should file an objection to the adoption in the appropriate court, and possibly with the state health and human services department. Often, an objection to adoption must include an indication of intent to petition for custody of the child in a short period of time, 30 days, for example.
YOUR LAWYER CAN HELP
To Know Your Rights as an Unmarried Father, Get Legal Guidance Call The Bronzino Law Firm serving towns across Monmouth and Ocean County for a free consultation
When compared to the obligations and demands of motherhood, the biological requirements of fatherhood are quite simple. This means that a father’s rights with respect to his children are less clear than those of the mother. Traditionally, mothers retain nearly all of the decision-making rights regarding an unborn child. Nonetheless, with the assistance of an attorney, birth fathers can still take actions on behalf of their child.
If you have any questions about your rights and obligations as an unmarried father call The Bronzino Law Firm serving in Ocean and Monmouth County today to talk to a legal representative who has experience in family law.
As an expectant father, the fact that you cannot physically carry your child to term does not mean you don’t have some rights (and responsibilities) with respect to your child’s well-being. You can protect your child’s interests along with your rights as a father by meeting with an attorney at The Bronzino Law Firm . The earlier you act, the more convincing your case will be to a judge. Get started today by contacting an experienced family law attorney at The Bronzino Law Firm to provide counsel on your child custody matter in Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Brick, Toms River, Lakewood and across all of Monmouth and Ocean County.