The advent of relatively inexpensive DNA testing has made it easier to determine paternity, but paternity lawsuits are still often difficult and tense. These disputes involve a lot of emotional issues, but they also have big financial implications. The biological father of a child is responsible for child support payments.
Former Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan has been fighting a paternity lawsuit against a woman who claims he is the father of her 16-year-old son. Jordan has asked a Georgia court to dismiss the suit, and filed a counterclaim against the woman, accusing her of making false claims against him. Jordan, a member of the NBA Hall of Fame, says that the paternity of the boy was conclusively determined in court documents related to the woman’s divorce from another man, and that Jordan is not the father.
There are a number of ways to challenge a paternity lawsuit. When a child is born to a married woman, the law generally presumes that the father is the woman’s husband, unless proven otherwise. However, this is only a presumption and not proof. A woman may put anyone’s name down as the father on a birth certificate, and that doesn’t constitute conclusive proof. One may also challenge the results of a paternity test, such as a DNA test, arguing that it has been tampered with or that a laboratory mixed up the results.
However, fatherhood has its rewards as well as its obligations. Paternity lawsuits do not always involve a man trying to prove he is not the father. Child support obligations are only part of the picture. Biological parents also may file to have visitation rights or even seek custody of the child. The court will decide these cases based upon the best interests of the child.
Source: USA Today, “Michael Jordan files to dismiss paternity lawsuit,” March 4, 2013.