Policy, not DNA, decides competing paternity claims

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona court says state law comes down in favor of a man who voluntarily acknowledged paternity of a child and not another man shown by DNA results to be the child’s genetic father.

The state Court of Appeals decision Tuesday said Arizona law law clearly declares the importance of providing “permanency and stability for a child” and that a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity “creates a presumption of paternity like that arising from a marriage or a birth certificate.”

Arizona law sets strict limits on legal grounds and timeframes for contesting voluntary acknowledgments of paternity, and those criteria weren’t met by the man shown by DNA results to be the genetic father, the decision said.

According to the decision, the mother said either man might have been the father and neither man knew of the other’s relationship with the mother during the period when conception occurred.

The mother permitted both men to separately spend time with the child and both “had developed meaningful relationships” with the child and been positive influences, the decision said.

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