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A natural father is responsible for his child's proper support to the extent that he is financially able, even though there is no relationship between them.
J.R. and L.R. were married in November 1988. After an argument in April 1990, L.R. went to a bar and met S.G., whom she had known before. Later, they engaged in sexual intercourse. When she discovered she was pregnant, L.R. did not tell J.R. about her brief affair. J.R. raised the child as his daughter and had no reason to doubt he was her biological father until nine and one-half years later when L.R. said during an argument that S.G. was the father. The couple separated. In a motion for support, J.R. raised the issue of paternity of the children and requested that the children be tested. The paternity test revealed that J.R. was not the daughter’s father. A genetic testing between S.G. and the daughter was ordered by the court, which revealed that S.G. was indeed the daughter’s father. The court then ordered both J.R. and S.G. to pay the necessary support for the daughter. Only S.G. appealed, arguing that the court’s order for them to submit to a paternity test was erroneous under the New Jersey Parentage Act, N.J.S.A. 9:17-38 to -59, as well as contrary to the daughter’s best interests.
The court held that under the New Jersey Parentage Act, N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 9:17-38 to -59, the fact that the natural father was unaware of the existence of his 12-year-old daughter until shortly before proceedings commenced and wanted nothing to do with her was insufficient to deny an application for genetic testing. The court further held that while the natural father bore the primary obligation of support, it was proper to divide the support obligation with the husband, the psychological father, because the natural father was unable to pay the entire amount of child support.