In most family law disputes involving children, a court is required to act in the best interest of the children. But there may be exceptions – including when a parent suspects that a child he’s raised as his own isn’t really his after all.
Take a recent case in New Jersey where a man suspected that his wife had cheated on him and that one of their three children – who was by this point a young adult – wasn’t actually his. When the wife filed for divorce, the husband claimed she’d hid the fact that he was not the child’s biological father. He asked the court to order the wife and son to submit to genetic testing.
The judge rejected this request on the grounds that the testing wouldn’t be in the best interest of the now 22-year-old son.
But the New Jersey Supreme Court disagreed. It said that in these circumstances and under New Jersey’s parentage law, the best interest of the child was only one of many factors to be considered when deciding about genetic testing.
The law on this issue differs quite a bit from state to state, and often depends on the unique circumstances of each case.