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How do I challenge or establish paternity in Pennsylvania?

Establishing who is the father of a particular child is vital -- both to the parents and to the child. However, it is not uncommon in Pennsylvania and other areas of the country for the wrong man to be named as the father of a child. When this happens, either parent may choose to challenge paternity by filing a lawsuit in court. There are several common ways of defending against and/or proving a challenge to paternity in these kinds of cases.

One way of challenging paternity is to challenge medical evidence -- like DNA evidence – that is being used to establish paternity. Medical evidence is commonly used to determine the father of a particular child. However, even though the medical tests used to gather this evidence tend to be accurate, they have been known to give incorrect results.

The possibility of tainted lab results might be shown if the laboratory has a history of substandard results. Conversely, negative paternity results might be disputed by showing evidence that a different person went to complete the tests instead of the suspected father, causing the tests to be fraudulent. Similarly, either side might invalidate the other side's test result evidence by showing that it was tampered with.

Proof of a mother's infidelity during a marriage might also be used to defend against a paternity claim. Unless proven otherwise, the husband of a pregnant woman is legally assumed to be the father. In other cases, a Pennsylvania father might show proof of his or her sterility or infertility, making it impossible for him to be the father of the child.

These days, DNA tests tend to be the best way to prove or disprove paternity. If you need assistance proving or challenging paternity relating to a child, a family law attorney may be able to guide you through this process as efficiently and successfully as possible.

Source: FindLaw, "Challenging paternity" accessed Jan. 16, 2015

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