Popular media and cable outlets seem to be adding more episodes and shows that cover paternity issues. In the real world, a paternity determination is more than fodder for public amusement. Paternity cases are intended to establish important rights.
The mother of a child may wish to establish paternity in order to seek child support and other benefits for the child, such as health coverage, inheritance rights and many other financial considerations for the benefit of the child. Similarly, a man may want to have a relationship with a child, and a paternity case may provide an avenue toward child custody or visitation rights with a child. Once paternity is legally established, a father gains important legal rights.
In some instances, the parties involved may have significant disputes concerning the ultimate issue of who is the father of the child. A recent paternity lawsuit out East involving Michael Jordan is under dispute in family court.
A woman recently posted a message on her Facebook page chastising Jordan after his recent marriage for not supporting his (alleged) daughter. The woman has filed a paternity suit. But, the former NBA player (and now part owner of an NBA team) denies that the child is his. He has responded to the paternity suit saying that he is not the father, and says that paternity of the child has already been legally established with someone else as being the child’s father.
The recent paternity suit against the basketball star is the second that he has faced this year. An earlier paternity lawsuit was dismissed earlier this year involving a different woman and child.
In California, a paternity case may often include a DNA test that is ordered by the court.
Source: The St. Louis American, “Fresh paternity suit for Michael Jordan," Oct. 3, 2013