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Paternity. A child born to the wife during the marriage is presumed to be the husband's child, as determined by law. This well-settled concept is the "presumption of lawful paternity", and assigns to the husband complete rights, duties and obligations as to the child, regardless of whether he is the biological parent or not. In the case of an unwed mother a man may come forward and accept the paternity of the child, the mother may petition the court for a determination if she can identify the likely candidate(s) or paternity can be determined by estoppel over time.

Where paternity of the child is in question, any party with an interest may ask the court to determine paternity, of one or several potential fathers (called putative father) based initially upon sworn statements and then upon testimony, including but not limited to:

  • Sexual relations by the mother with a man other than the putative father, with a description of the circumstances of the child's conception
  • Lack of access to the mother by the putative father during the same time period
  • Scientific proof (blood group, HLA marker, DNA testing, etc.) showing the likelihood of putative father being genetically related
  • Other admissible evidence[?] that may tend to establish paternity such as statements against interest[?] made by the putative father
Generally, hospital records and birth certificate are not sufficient to offset this presumption of lawful paternity. A successful application to the court results in an Order of Filiation, and assigning paternity to a specific man. The biological father now must support the child and may also generally speaking have visitation with the child. In a marriage where the biological father is unknown or without financial means, the court may find the husband responsible for support of the child.

Please remember in calculating the date of conception that the human gestation period is roughly 9 months, less 7-11 days.

A child born to the husband and wife prior to the marriage becomes a child of the marriage when the marriage is performed.

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