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Question on father's paternity in child custody case

It is not usual to hear of Pennsylvania fathers who want custody of a child if he or she may not be biologically theirs. For those parents, joint child custody may be tricky if the other parent does not consent to the arrangement. That is the situation for one man who wants joint child custody, stating that the bond he has with the 1-year-old girl supersedes DNA.

The man and the baby's mother dated on and off for four years but were not together when the mother says she got pregnant. However, the man she says is the father left her during her pregnancy and she returned to her former boyfriend. When the baby was born, the mother listed him as the father on the birth certificate as well as the acknowledgment of paternity, although she says she made sure he understood he was not the biological father. She said he told her that fact did not matter.

Now the mother claims the man has been abusive and threatening to her in the past, but there have been no domestic abuse incidents legally reported against him. Although a judge gave her physical and legal custody of the girl, he also gave the man visitation rights. The mother's attorney filed a motion to stop the visitation and order the man to take a DNA test, which he has been unwilling to take thus far. In the meantime, the man the mother claims is the father has come back in the picture and has taken an inconclusive DNA test at home but has not petitioned the court to authenticate paternity. The man who has been the only father the little girl knows wants joint custody and would like to set up child support payments, even though the mother wants nothing more than for him to take the DNA test and leave her alone when it proves he is not the father.

It can be frustrating when neither side will budge in a child custody dispute. The right type of legal representation is of utmost importance when trying to reach an acceptable arrangement. There are attorneys in Pennsylvania who can fight to ensure a parent's voice is heard in a court of law.

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