Home test kits for conditions such as pregnancy and HIV give individuals fast, and often accurate results without having to go to a doctor. Since inaccurate readings are possible depending on the quality of the kit, most users follow up with further testing at a medical facility. In addition to providing accurate results, clinical testing gives you legally admissible proof that can be used in a court proceeding. Legally binding results are especially important in child support and custody cases involving paternity disputes. The New Jersey family courts will only accept test results from an impartial, state-approved facility, which would have followed strict protocols during the testing and collection processes.
While home test kit results are not admissible as evidence, they are not necessarily useless in a paternity dispute. If a home kit shows “reasonable doubt” as to a child's paternity, the father has a right to request DNA testing from the courts. This right was established through a 2012 case in which a Morris County father, referred to under the pseudonym of “Richard”, discovered that he was not the biological father of his youngest child. He discovered the truth through a home test kit, after his wife admitted to having an affair around the time of conception. As a result, Richard petitioned the courts for genetic testing in order to establish his wife's former lover, “Donald” as the real father. Once the true parentage was established, Richard planned to sue Donald for all the costs associated with raising his child for the past 22 years.
Richard was denied paternity testing twice by the family courts, but the Supreme Court ruled in his favor, stating that the father had a legal right to know the truth, given the reasonable doubt that was shown by the home testing kit. The lower court's main contention was that enforced testing was not in the best interests of the child, who adamantly opposed to being tested. While it's understandable that the child's wishes must be considered, the Supreme Court ruled that the father has a right to demand proof of paternity under the provisions of the New Jersey Parentage Act. Like so many cases that are brought before the family courts, the judges needed to decide which was more important: the child's best interest, or the current statutes and legal precedents. In this particular case, the Appellate Division believed that there were enough compelling circumstances to side with the law.
If you are involved a paternity dispute, please speak with the experienced family law attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. Establishing the correct parentage is essential to providing your child with the full range of rights and protections that he or she is entitled to under the law. In addition to the financial considerations, your child is also entitled to the truth, i.e., the identity of his or her father. Our knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys look forward to helping you achieve the resolution that you and your children deserve.