In appropriate circumstances, the doctrine of equitable estoppel may be asserted defensively by a purported biological father to prevent a child’s mother from asserting biological paternity. In this particular paternity proceeding, the court held that a genetic marker test to establish paternity was not in the best interests of child based on equitable estoppel against the mother. The mother had failed to appear for court-ordered genetic marker test in paternity proceeding initiated 13 years before, had failed to pursue that proceeding, and had failed to commence new proceeding for 13 years, during which time the child had no relationship with the alleged biological father, and the child lived with the mother, her current husband, and his half-siblings on mother’s side.
Laura Morgan is a Family Law Consultant. Laura is available for consultation, brief writing and research on family law issues throughout the country. She can be reached through her website. www.famlawconsult.com