Prior voluntary acknowledgement of paternity precludes future genetic marker testing

The New Hampshire Supreme Court released an opinion today In the Matter of Kevin Gendron and Jody Plaistek that held that a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity executed in Massachusetts must be given full faith and credit and that the trial court erred in ordering genetic marker testing. The voluntary acknowledgement of paternity signed by both parents had all ready established the father as the legal father to the child, and therefore there was no need for further proof of paternity to establish parenting rights and responsibilities.

The court noted that it had made similar rulings in Watts v. Watts, which held that a father was precluded from seeking blood tests to disprove his paternity fifteen years after the children's births. In Watts, the court found that to allow the father to escape liability for support by blood tests would ignore his lengthy, voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. Here, the court noted that although the mother was seeking to disprove paternity, the result should not be any different than that in Watts.

Today's opinion should serve as a warning to anyone who voluntarily signs an acknowledgement of paternity. If there are any doubts or questions regarding paternity, seek legal counsel prior to signing the acknowledgment  because it may preclude the ability to reopen the issue of paternity in the future.

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New Hampshire Family Law Blog - June 24, 2008 12:50 PM
On this blog, we review new domestic relations cases that are issued by the New Hampshire Supreme Court such as the recent Lemieux and Gendron and Plaistek opinions. However, there are many older opinions which a worth reviewing periodically. Here,...
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Heather - June 29, 2010 9:41 PM

I have a question. What if the father acknowledged paternity under false pretenses? Suppose the father had 100% faith in his wife's monogamy then comes to find out that his wife cheated with not one, but several men; would he still be precluded fromseeking DNA testing?

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