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PA Paternity- Use of a Father's Confessions

Confessions of the father

I was recently involved in a custody matter where the father denied that the child was his, despite making prior statements to the contrary. He asked for the court to require that a DNA test be performed. However, there were emails and other electronic data supporting the fact that he admitted to being the father. This was sufficient for the court to enter a support order before the DNA test results were returned. As suspected, he was the child's father.

In a paternity case admissions by the putative father are the strongest evidence corroborative of the mother's charges. Ideally, the admission is that he is or could be the father, but it need not be that complete. Any admission that corroborates the mother's statements concerning their association and relationship is helpful. Admissions may also be inferred from conduct. At the earliest opportunity the attorney for the mother must use every possible method to obtain admissions, and he should do so without alerting the putative father that legal proceedings may be taken. Admissions will most frequently be made to the mother in a "private" conversation, and it is desirable to have some evidence to corroborate her testimony that the admissions were made. Miniature recording devices, however, should not be used in Pennsylvania. Unless both parties consent to the conversation being recorded, absent a few exceptions, this is an illegal wiretap.

If you have questions about paternity proceedings, or a custody matter involving unwed parents, contact Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC.