Can My Boyfriend Refuse To Take A Paternity Test?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

My boyfriend’s grandfather has custody of my boyfriend’s daughter. He is pressing the issue of a paternity test because my boyfriend is not on his daughter’s birth certificate. There is no doubt that his daughter is his. What could be the reason he is pushing for this? How could he benefit from this? He has made comments in the past about taking my boyfriend to court and taking his visits and even his rights. But to our knowledge he hasn’t made any progress on that. Please help us know what he is trying to do.

Generally, states take parental rights of a biological parent very seriously. A biological parent will usually only involuntarily lose all parental rights in only extreme circumstances. When a child is born out of wedlock, several mechanisms can establish the biological father as the father under the law. One is being included on the birth certificate. Another is to voluntarily sign a legal acknowledgment of paternity. Another is for a court to determine that the father is the biological father, either through DNA or the surrounding facts. From what you’ve shared, it is unclear what your boyfriend’s grandfather may be attempting to do by pushing a paternity test. He may simply want the assurance that your boyfriend is recognized as the biological father under the law. If he doubts paternity, he may think that his custody over the child would be more secure if your boyfriend is established as not being the father. This would probably be an incorrect assumption because a court could determine that if the grandfather has no biological relationship to the child, he may not be the best custodian. It may also complicate the child’s status. If everyone believes that the child is your boyfriend’s, but then a paternity test disproves this belief, another man may come onto the scene who is the biological father. This could create a whole new custody battle.

It could also be that, if your boyfriend is not already paying child support for his daughter, that the grandfather is looking at filing for child support, which might, depending on your state requirements, require proof of paternity.

If your boyfriend wants to protect his legal relationship with the child, he may wish to sign an acknowledgment of paternity (or the equivalent in your state). These usually have time limitations on them, so, depending on how old the child is, this may no longer be possible. He may also petition a court to declare he is the father of the child. The court may or may not require a DNA test. Your best course of action would be to consult a local attorney who specializes in child custody. The laws of your state and your boyfriend’s specific circumstances can influence the best course of action for him to legally protect his relationship to his daughter.