Can Someone be Forced to Take a DNA Test?

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“My husband and I have been married for 30 years. 18 years ago I had a brief affair and became pregnant. My husband is named as my 17- year-old’s father on her birth certificate. He is aware of the affair, but has raised my daughter as his own. Now, the wife of the man whom I had the affair with wants to know if he is the father of my daughter. Can she force me to have my daughter tested? Can she force her husband to be tested? She’s only doing this because she wants to know if her husband has another child out there.”

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That will depend entirely on the laws of the state in which you each reside. In California, a child born to a married woman is legally presumed to be the child of the husband – even if all parties know and acknowledge that the child is biologically someone else’s child – unless the biological father challenges paternity, within a very short period of time following the birth of the child or the biological father’s first learning of the existence of the child and his being the biological father. In such a state, the biological father’s wife would ordinarily have no right to demand a paternity test. Again, though, it depends on the state, and you should check with a local attorney.

All that aside, it is important to consider your daughter’s right to know her true parentage – even if only in case medical issues arise in the future. In addition, because others are aware of the situation, if she doesn’t already know she will be bound to find out sooner or later, and it would be best if it came from you, people who love her and can support her emotional needs – rather than from a spiteful 3rd party.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.