Legal Question in Family Law in Iowa

Can a paternity test be forced on the mother?

My 24-year-old son is engaged and has been living with his fiance for about 3 years. She has two young boys from other relationships. She is now about 6 months pregnant and says that my son is not the father of this child. My son left for a period of about two weeks, then moved back in with her. She now says she is going to give the child up for adoption. My son is concerned, as am I, that this could in fact be his child. Is there a way that paternity can be determined as quickly as possible after birth (or even before birth) so that my son can take custody of the child if it is his? Does he have any legal rights as far as testing goes to determine if the child is his?

Asked on 1/27/99, 5:32 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Jonathan Schiff Self employed
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Re: Can mom be forced to take paternity test?

What you probably can do is file an action to determine the child parent relationship (same thing, different name). I don't know about your state but Ohio recently enacted legislation setting up something called the "putative father registry." Most of us who attended a workshop that explained this, thought it was a joke. But the truth is it was designed for this very situation. How it works is that a man who believes that he may have caused a woman to "be with child" can call an 800 number and register this fact with the registry at the state capital (I think you get a glimmer here about why many of us found this rather amusing). In any event, if an adoption (and I assume even a regular custody proceding) is initiated, this registry is checked for any fathers who have filed their names. They can then be notified of the matter and intervene as parties.

This procedure was initiated to prevent the highly publicized litigation that resulted in infants being removed from adoptive homes after having been integrated into those homes because a previously unnotified parent came forward to challenge the adoption.

You might check to see if such a process is in place in your state and whether there are any time limitations within which you have to register.

Otherwise you can certainly initiate the paternity test or intervene in any action involving adoption.

Jonathan Schiff

Self employed

605 Rose Hill Ave


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1/30/99, 1:14 pm
Alan Pransky Law Office of Alan J. Pransky
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Re: Can a paternity test be forced on the mother?

The rights of the father are equal to the rights of the mother. If your son files a paternity action in

which he seeks custody, he should be able to prevent the adoption until paternity is established. THIS

COMMUNICATION DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE CREATION OF AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT

RELATIONSHIP. Legal rights vary greatly depending on specific facts, and it is impossible on the basis

of the recitation of a few facts to determine whether or not an individual has a viable case, what is the

full range of options, or what limitations exist which may bar an individual's potential claims. ON THE

BASIS OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED TO ME, I RECOMMEND THAT YOU PROMPTLY

CONSULT AN ATTORNEY TO DETERMINE THE SCOPE OF LEGAL RECOURSE, IF ANY, YOU

MAY HAVE. YOU SHOULD NOT RELY ON ANYTHING I HAVE STATED AS ADVICE TO DO

ANYTHING OTHER THAN TO CONSULT AN ATTORNEY TO DISCUSS FULLY AN APPROPRIATE

COURSE OF ACTION.

Alan Pransky

Law Office of Alan J. Pransky

20 Eastbrook Road


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1/31/99, 10:30 pm
Jes Beard Jes Beard, Attorney at Law
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Re: Can a paternity test be forced on the mother?

Would seem the first thing your son needs to do is decide whether he is serious about the marriage.

In most states (and keep in mind that I am licensed only in Tennesse, so your son should talk with a local attorney), if the husband holds himself out as the father of children concieved prior to the marriage, but born during the marriage, and the wife does not tell eveyong otherwise, he just became the legal father, whether he is the biological father or not.

This is also sometimes applied to children born BEFORE the marriage.

While your son can force a paternity test, that is likely to through a wrench in the works of them getting married.

Jes Beard

Jes Beard, Attorney at Law

737 Market St., Suite 601


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2/02/99, 10:01 am

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