Virginia law presumes that the husband of a child’s mother is the child’s legal father. This means that if the mother is currently married or was married up to 10 months prior to the child’s birth, but another man is believed by one party to be the biological father, paternity must be established in court.
When there is a question who the father of a child is, DNA testing usually is needed. Occasionally, paternity testing can yield surprising results, as it did in a recent case in New Jersey, where a man was found to be the father of one girl out of a set of twins -- but not both.
The mother of the twins went to court to establish paternity and seek child support from the man. She testified in court that she had intercourse with the man and another man within a week’s time. It is possible for a woman to become impregnated with twins by different fathers, though it is very rare. A 1997 study suggested that one out of every 13,000 paternity cases involve this scenario, which is called bipaternal twins.
The judge acknowledged how unusual the case was in his ruling, noting that he could only find a few reported paternity cases involving twins with different fathers nationwide. However, he found that the man was indeed the biological father of one of the twins, and ordered him to pay child support for that girl.
Given how rare bipaternal twins are, it is unlikely that any of our Virginia readers will ever have to answer these particular paternity and child support questions. But overall, paternity and child support matters are quite common, and can mean everything when it comes to providing your children a proper standard of living.