Can a third party challenge paternity of an intact marriage?

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Can a third party challenge paternity of an intact marriage?

And if so is there a time limitation? The husband is the legal father and on the birth certificate and not willing to give up his rights. The third party lives out of state.

Asked on November 23, 2011 under Family Law, Rhode Island

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question regarding who can possibly challenge the paternity of a child of an intact marriage.  This will depend on the family law code of the state in which you reside.  When a child is born to a married couple, there is a presumption of paternity as to the father of the child.  The presumption is that the husband is the father of the child.  This means that the hospital would list the husband’s name on the birth certificate and if you were to get divorced that your husband would likely be ordered to pay child support, have rights to both legal and physical child custody, and visitation rights.

However, there are circumstances in which a presumption of paternity can be rebutted.  Depending on your state’s laws will determine the process, sometimes a lengthy process that can be court ordered to determine the paternity of a child. 

If a third party (someone outside of the marriage) challenges paternity of the child, they can file a petition with the court to determine paternity.  Usually the court will hold a hearing to see if it is necessary to order a paternity test.  This will be conducted at a court-approved facility.  The person contesting paternity will usually bear the costs.

If you need assistance during this process, it may be helpful to contact a family law attorney in your area.  Sometimes the process can be emotional, but an expert in this area can provide guidance as to the process in your state and what you can expect from the court.

 


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