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Biology Overruled

In two recent opinions, the New Hampshire Supreme Court has said that signing an affidavit of paternity may be determinative as to who is the child's legal father. In both cases, the mother later claimed that another man was the father and in one, a genetic test confirmed this.

In the Matter of Gendron and Plaistek found that where out-of-state paternity acknowledgment established the legal father, it was error to order genetic testing. In the Matter of J.B. and J.G. held that when mother has signed an affidavit of paternity and sought (and received) support for the child, the man is legal a parent and may seek parental rights and responsibilities under RSA 461-A. In the Matter of J.B. and J.G.was an interlocutory appeal from a Portsmouth Family Division case. The trial court asked the Supreme Court 2 questions:

(1) May petitioner maintain a parenting petition under N.H. RSA [chapter] 461-A, when he is neither a stepparent, biological parent, or grandparent to the child?

(2) Would allowing this petitioner to maintain a parenting petition violate respondent's fundamental liberty interest to raise her son, as secured by both [the] Federal and State Constitutions?

The Supreme Court answered question 1 "yes" and question 2 "no." The case was sent back to Portsmouth Family Division for further action.

Tags: affidavit of paternity, family law, paternity

Posted August 13, 2008

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