A recently proposed bill in the New Jersey State Legislature has won the support of fathers' rights advocates around the state. The legislation, known as A2609, would require newborns and their parents to undergo genetic testing to make it easier to verify the children's parentage, should the need arise. The bill has not been posted for debate, making it difficult to estimate if and when the measure will pass into law.
The bill would have especially significant implications on child support. For instance, a man who discovers he is not a child's father but has incurred expenses providing resources or child support for that child would be allowed to seek reimbursement for those expenses.
Although the bill would apply to both mothers and fathers in New Jersey, the bill's sponsor said the move is targeted mainly at helping fathers, as it is easy to verify the identity of a child's mother.
While the bill has several opponents, it has been praised by fathers' right advocates and family law professionals. An official with the New Jersey chapter of Dads Against Discrimination approved of the measure. He explained, "Judges have too much discretion in the family court issues. We need to codify a lot of this stuff and make guidelines." Likewise, one lawyer said the bill represented a "good attempt" at clarifying New Jersey's current laws regarding parentage.
Another attorney said the bill could be "very significant" because it could provide lawmakers, judges and other legal professionals with "a clear and definitive road map" to identifying a child's parents. He currently represents a man who has requested reimbursement from his former brother-in-law after finding out that the now 23-year-old man he raised as his son is not his biological child. The attorney said that while current laws allow such individuals to seek compensation, those measures are "not clearly defined under a single statute."
Source: NJ.com, "N.J. Legislator propose bill requiring genetic testing for all newborns, parents to verify paternity," Matt Friedman, March 4, 2012