The birth of a child is one of the most exciting moments of any parent's life. It is also a life-changing event for New Jersey parents as they suddenly realize that their world now revolves around their child.
One of the most important things parents can do after the birth of their baby is to enjoy bonding with their child, but parents who are not married should also consider taking some time to sort out a few legal matters to ensure that their child will continue to receive the emotional and financial support that is needed if the parents ever separate. Genetic testing to establish paternity may not be a priority for new parents, but not establishing paternity soon after the birth of a child could create overwhelming and costly problems in the future if unmarried parents ever need to resolve child support or child custody issues.
In fact, some believe that genetic testing is so important that it should be a requirement for parents and their newborns in New Jersey.
Last week, a New Jersey lawmaker proposed a new bill that would require doctors or midwives to conduct genetic testing on parents and newborns in order to immediately establish paternity. Establishing paternity certainly offers many benefits to mothers, fathers and children, but should it be a requirement? Should parents be forced to pay for DNA testing if they believe that they have no need to establish paternity?
The lawmaker argues that establishing paternity soon after the birth of a child can help to eliminate any costly or emotionally devastating problems in the future. Can you imagine being a single mother and not being able to collect child support because the child's father never took a DNA test? Establishing paternity can help to ensure that a child receives the financial assistance he or she may need if the child's unmarried parents separate. However, establishing paternity also has its emotional benefits for parents. Can you imagine being a single father and spending years raising and bonding with your son or daughter, only to find out after the child is an adult that you are not his or her biological father?
For example, one New Jersey father spent 23 years raising and financially supporting his son. But after taking a genetic test, he discovered that his son was not his biological child. He is now hoping to determine who the man's biological father is so that he can seek reimbursement for the years of child support he paid for a child that was not biologically his. His case is currently under review in the state Supreme Court.
Source: nj.com, "N.J. legislator proposes bill requiring genetic testing for all newborns, parents to verify paternity," Matt Friedman, March 4, 2012