“How Should I Ask For a Paternity Test?”

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    April 26, 2024 at 9:16 am #1128919

    From a LW:

    “I have a rather sticky situation I need advice on, and please, commenters, be kind.

    My son’s ex-girlfriend claims that her daughter is my late son’s, but the main question that comes with that claim is that they weren’t together at the time. My therapist (I saw one after I watched my son die, he was 21) said that often teens will re-connect for a day, or night, but my husband insists that there is no possible way the child could be our son’s since the mother was on a dating app at the time and had a young man in her bed when my son went over there (and subsequently got arrested for assault). Yet, when she left with this other boy, she called our son for help and he paid to get here back home!

    I am caught in between my husband and my son’s ex, and I desperately need to know how to go about asking the ex for a paternity test, given that she will be offended and probably not want me to even see the baby ever again. Also, she is becoming more and more offended because I don’t ask her to our home because my husband refuses to let her on to the property. Her actions are not the fault of the baby and I wish to have a good relationship with her, since her child would be the only link I would have with my late son.

    How do I ask for a paternity test (I can get one for grandparents and my son had one brother still alive) without offending her, given these conditions? — Caught in the Middle

    Miss MJ
    April 26, 2024 at 9:44 am #1128921

    In a healthy relationship, I’d recommend just being kind and straightforward, and phrase it as an “of course I need this confirmation since you were not in a relationship with my son at the time the baby was conceived.”

    Since this one is volatile, to say the least, blame it on bureaucratic red tape. Say you went to update your will or something or find out what to do with your late son’s estate (however small) in light of this and your lawyer said you need a paternity test. (Which any lawyer worth their salt would recommend!!) And truthfully, it may even be required for the baby to get some kinds of benefits – like social security benefits, however small – through its deceased father.

    In truth, I kind of think she should have offered herself, given the circumstances, and especially if she’s angling for any sort of financial assistance from you. Please proceed with caution. If she’s offended or refuses, or tries to leverage your access to the baby to not have to prove true kinship, then I’d take that as a sign that it’s not really your grandchild and she’s trying to scam you by using your grief against you. Which sucks, but she sounds like a person who tends to use people to get what she needs and if the baby’s real father isn’t in the picture but you, her ex’s bereaved parents, are, well…that can make you a target.

    April 26, 2024 at 4:05 pm #1128922

    I could understand her being offended if she and your late son were in a committed relationship at the time of his death (I’d still say you would want a paternity test for any kid born outside of a marriage in which your son isn’t alive to vouch for paternity). But under these circumstances it seems quite reasonable to get a test. I do agree with your therapist that there is a chance your son is the dad. I think your husband’s attitude is premature because you don’t want to be rude to this woman if there’s a chance she’s the mother of your grandchild. You (and she) need to clarify this as soon as possible so your husband starts treating her well (or she avoids him permanently if your son isn’t the father and you can decide if you want to remain in her life).

    Is your son on the birth certificate? If he’s not available to sign, wouldn’t she need a paternity test to add him to the birth certificate and make him eligible for social security benefits?

    April 27, 2024 at 7:59 am #1128926

    Just ask her. Tell her nothing will change with your husband until you know for sure.

    April 27, 2024 at 8:19 am #1128927

    I like Miss MJ’s recommendation to “blame” your lawyer. Also, if you do plan to give this child an inheritance, I recommend setting up guardrails to ensure the mother can’t get the money directly. You can set conditions like it’s specifically for college. Or you can defer direct access to the funds until the child is 35. You don’t have to allow the kid access at 18 when they don’t understand consequences, may be shortsighted or very influenced by the adults in their life.

    But this young woman shouldn’t be surprised that you are questioning who the father is, given the circumstances of the breakup. If she fights you, it’s relatively safe to assume that this isn’t your biological grandchild.

    April 27, 2024 at 3:32 pm #1128929

    My son is dead. He committed suicide on March first when she refused to talk to him after he kept trying to get back together with her.

    April 28, 2024 at 7:04 am #1128934

    Leanne, my heart aches for you. A loss like that is unfathomable. I pray that you receive comfort and healing. Please don’t go through this alone.

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    April 28, 2024 at 10:27 am #1128940

    I’m very sorry for your loss, Leanne. I lost my mother to suicide. It is a devastating way to lose someone you love. I know the pain feels unbearable right now. The first year is so very hard, especially as you pass the first holidays and anniversaries without him, but the more time that passes, the duller the pain becomes, the easier the loss is to carry. One day it will stop suddenly crashing over you and taking your breath away all the time. You will be able to focus on the good memories again; the way he died won’t overwhelm them.

    Please seek grief counselling, for yourself and your husband. You cannot heal from this without help. I was stuck in my grief so for long until counselling helped lift some of the crushing burden. Your husband, especially, is consumed by his anger at your son’s ex. You both must process that anger before you can grieve and begin to heal. This is especially important if the baby turns out to be your grandchild and you want to be able to have a relationship with them. If your husband is not ready for grief counselling, go alone for now. Find a counsellor who specializes in suicide. Find out if there are grief support groups in your area where you can meet others who have lost children. It can be very isolating when no one understands what you’re going through. Find people who do. The first time I talked with a woman who’d lost her mother the way I had lifted my soul.

    Two books that were incredibly helpful for me were No Time To Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One and Touched by Suicide: Hope and Healing After Loss. You can find a free PDF of the Handbook for Coping with Suicide Loss here: https://suicidology.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Grief-Handbook-08-27-23-Full-Color.pdf

    My very deepest condolences.

    Miss MJ
    April 28, 2024 at 5:13 pm #1128941

    I’m so sorry, Leanne. And I’m even more sorry that child seems to have become a potential pawn in an awfully sad game.

    Demand the test. If it’s your grandchild, then you take whatever steps you’re comfortable with. If it is not, then you need to grieve the potential. Again, I’m so sorry. But this is a bad aid to rip off quickly. Very, very quickly.

    Please stick with your therapist. Sending you internet best wishes and hugs.

    April 29, 2024 at 6:42 am #1128943

    I’m so sorry Leanne – I can’t imagine your heartbreak.

    April 30, 2024 at 4:45 pm #1128995

    Okay, so you’re asking how can you ask her, without offending her, when she’s already feeling offended you won’t invite her over ?

    You need to forgive her, first. You can’t get what you want right now without ruffling someone’s feathers. You can’t be in that baby’s life if you and your husband blame her and don’t believe the baby is yours. So it seems you need to employ a grief counselor for your husband and yourself and begin the process of forgiveness. At some point it sound like you’re going to have to make a tough choice, your husband or the potential of your sons DNA.

    She is a teen. Was a teen. No matter what she did, it is not her fault. That baby could be your grand baby. There is no polite way to ask that, the way things are right now. You have no relationship to ask her for a paternity test. Work on the relationship before you ask for that.

    April 30, 2024 at 4:51 pm #1128996

    *your husbands good mood, which TBH doesn’t sound that good to begin with. Make a relationship with her. Gain trust. Then try and ask for a test or prove to your entire family who the father is, or get weird and felonious, and obtain DNA on the sly without doing harm to the baby. *pretty sure you can’t do this legally without her permission, and that would risk your entire relationship.

    How much is the blame against this girl into play vs actual facts? It sounds like she’s been through a lot, too. Why would she want to be involved with your family unless she needed to? Especially given how your husband thinks of her. I doubt he keeps his feelings to himself.

    Please seek therapy or counsel from a minister or trusted friend. Your husband sounds very angry, which is his right, but it sound like he is blaming someone else your son left behind. Teenagers break up and down, all the time. Emotions are pretty dramatic ant that age, as I’m sure you are aware. Anyone would tell you that.

    You won’t get the baby in your life by blaming her.

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“How Should I Ask For a Paternity Test?”

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