If you have doubts about paternity, it is important to raise them from the start. A 2007 appeal illustrates the danger of waiting until years pass to contest or inquire into paternity in Maryland. In the case, the court considered a challenge to paternity with respect to a child born during a short marriage. The father Patrick Ashley and woman were married in 1980. Before their marriage, the woman had dated Steven Reid. When they got together Ashley asked the woman to take a pregnancy test. She told him that the pregnancy test indicated she wasn’t pregnant. They got married. Eight months later, the woman gave birth to a son.
Shortly after that, the couple separated. The court issued a divorce judgment awarding the woman sole custody of her son, visitation to the man, and requiring the man to pay child support.
Over a decade later, the father began to doubt he was the son’s father based on visual observation, and got DNA testing. It revealed he wasn’t the biological father. Instead, the biological father was Reid, the man that the mother had dated just before getting married. Ashley filed a lawsuit to discontinue child support and request paternity testing. He alleged that the mother was pregnant with the son before they married. He also alleged that in 2004, he told the mother about the DNA test results. The woman asked if they should tell the son and asked if he thought the son would hate her. Continue reading →