ST. PAUL (AP) -- A man who established he could be the father of a child should be able to get a paternity test -- even when there is already a presumed father, the state Supreme Court wrote Tuesday.
Under Minnesota's Uniform Parentage Act, a man who provides a factual foundation for his claim that he fathered a child has standing to bring an action to seek genetic testing and establish paternity.
Two lower courts said that was true even when there was already another man who was presumed to be the father. The Supreme Court agreed in a 4-3 split decision.
A man brought the case in Hennepin County District Court in 1999 to establish that he was the father of a child born a year earlier.
The child's mother was married to another man at the time of conception and birth. She concedes she and the man who filed the lawsuit had intercourse around the time of the child's conception.
But she and her husband moved to dismiss the other man's paternity petition, saying he lacked standing because he did not have the positive genetic-test evidence he needed to make him a presumed father.
The husband and wife have refused to allow genetic testing. The district court ruled that the man who brought the case had a right get the child tested.
The Supreme Court agreed, but noted that even if blood or genetic tests showed that the man who brought the lawsuit is the child's presumed biological father, the man who has been acting as the baby's father also would be a presumed biological father. That's because he was married to the child's mother at the time of the birth.
If the genetic tests were positive, a court would determine later if the man who filed the case should get custodial or visitation rights.
Three justice dissented, saying, among other things that "even if the mother admits the sexual contact, the majority's reading, taken to its logical conclusion, would give any man who raped the mother standing to obtain blood tests and therefore assert his paternity of the resulting child."
"If the legislature had meant for this statute to create such an intrusive and extreme result, surely it would have stated so explicitly," Justice John Lancaster wrote in the dissenting opinion.
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