Have you ever doubted that your child was actually yours and decided not to find out if true?

No, but over the course of my career as a family lawyer I have spoken to several men who suspected they might not be the biological father of children they were raising or had raised to adulthood, but didn’t care to know whether that was really true. It didn’t matter to them. They loved those children as their own regardless of whether there was a blood relationship between them.

This does not mean that one must never look in to the matter. Indeed, if there are medical health and treatment issues for a child that arise and family history or genetic compatibility need to be known for diagnosis and/or treatment purposes, the morally right thing to do may be getting genetic testing done.

But it can be emotionally and psychologically devastating to parents, children, and the family to start digging around into questions of paternity. Proceed with caution.

I’ve seen cases where a mother who had an affair either never bothered to find out about paternity or duped her husband into believing the child was his, then tearing that poor child away from him after divorce claiming, “You aren’t the father, so you have no rights to this child.” Thankfully, the law in my jurisdiction (Utah) has provisions for protecting a man’s relationship with a child (and the child’s relationship with that man) in these circumstances, but to get the benefit of these provisions you have to act on them and ensure your rights are legally recognized and enforced.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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