Proposed law would require DNA testing of newborns and parents

DNA paternity testing is a staple of some daytime television shows. The host reveals the test results in front of the mother, sometimes the child, the man who may or may not be the father, and millions of viewers. Some men hope the test results will show they are the fathers. Others hope to hear they are not, so that they won’t have to pay child support for children who aren’t biologically theirs.

Interestingly, a proposed New Jersey law hopes to eliminate this drama — and real world expense — by mandating DNA testing of a mother, father and baby at birth. The idea is this would establish a clear record in case paternity is disputed later.

According to Assemblyman Gilbert Wilson, the author of measure (A2609), the proposed law would also allow men who later determine they are not the biological father to seek reimbursement for the money they spent raising the children.

“I’ve heard different stories about fathers who are raising children and paying support for a child and come to find out years later that it wasn’t their child,” he said. “It’s a devastating thing to find out.”

While fathers’ rights advocates support the bill, experts think it has very little chance of passing. Indeed, no companion legislation has yet been introduced in the state Senate.

A similar proposed law was introduced last year in Kansas, but didn’t get very far.

Interestingly, there is currently a case being heard by the New Jersey Supreme Court where a man who found out that his 23-year-old son was not his biological child is suing his former brother-in-law, who he believes is the father.

The idea of mandatory DNA testing — paid for by the parents or their insurer — naturally raises concerns about privacy. When the New Jersey Star-Ledger asked the ACLU what it thought , a spokeswoman said that she didn’t want to comment on legislation that had so little chance of passing.

What are your thoughts on this proposed measure?

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about child support arrears, fathers’ rights or post-divorce issues, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The New Jersey Star Ledger, “N.J. legislator proposes bill requiring genetic testing for all newborns, parents to verify paternity” March 1, 2012