This is sort of a complex issue: (North Carolina) Mother and father share a 10 year old, they were never married - both have remarried other people. The presumed father signed the birth certificate and legally legitimated the child when the child was 5 years old (through Judgment of Legitimation - NO DNA test was done to establish paternity). Mother has majority custody and the minor child sees the stepdad as his dad but now the presumed father is suing for full custody. There is a slight chance the presumed is not actually the biological father. My question is: Can the mother have a DNA test performed to see if he is not actually the father and nullify the custody issue? Are there any legal ramifications to consider? The ethical considerations have been discusses extensively, just trying to explore all options here.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Custody cases are complex from a legal standpoint but overall, your situation is not particularly complex nor are there any 'ethical' issues of any significance. The person on the birth certificate either is or is not the father. If you want to know, have a DNA test done. The results will affect the custody issue and other things such as child support. If it turns out he is not the father - he will not have an obligation to pay child support. You should consult with a local family law attorney who can review your specific situation in more detail than can be done in a limited forum like this and who can lay out your options for you. The biggest concern your question raises is why would you allow the child to see the stepdad as his dad. If you have in fact allowed that and without good cause, then you have likely brough the custody action down on yourself and frankly - rightly so. If the person currently on the birth certificate is the father and if you allowed the child to look to stepdad as 'dad' without good cause that could be a negative factor against you in the Judge's determination of custody. Best of luck.