Contested Paternity Case
The current statute relating to paternity is 23 Pa.C.S. §4343. As it relates to testing to determine paternity, the statute provides: (c) Genetic Tests. (1) Upon the request of any party to an action to establish paternity, supported by a sworn statement from the party, the court or domestic relations section shall require the child and the parties to submit to genetic tests. The domestic relations section shall obtain an additional genetic test upon the request and advance payment by any party who contests the initial test. Tests results alone are not sufficient to establish paternity. Instead, the parties must stipulate in writing that the test results prove paternity or the court must make an order on paternity after reviewing the test results.
As a matter of science, it is not necessary to have both parents of the child tested. Either parent can be simply tested against the child at issue to establish clear results as to whether they are a biological parent. However, the courts should make a practice of routinely testing both parents as indicated by the statute. In a recent paternity case, the Father filed a Complaint for Paternity after he separated from his girlfriend who had become pregnant. He never had an opportunity to see the child after birth. Following a hearing, genetic testing was ordered. Father and child were tested but Mother refused to be tested. The results excluded Father as a biological parent. Father, believing there may have been foul play, insisted on Mother being tested. Following a second hearing, Mother was ordered to be tested as well to prove she was in fact the biological parent of the child she brought in for testing. The results from her test excluded her as a biological parent as well. This means Mother brought a child in for testing that she knew was not her child, likely in an attempt to thwart Father’s claim of paternity. Currently, a third hearing is being requested to ensure the correct child is presented for testing. This case should be a lesson to the court to enforce the provision of the statute requiring both parties submit to genetic tests in any action for paternity.