Jesse G. Pace answers:
Paternity is important to establish in a divorce case if there is a question as to who the father may be. If you fail to raise this issue during the dissolution of marriage action, it will be presumed that you are the father and the child will be entitled to all rights, such as inheritance, as if it were your actual child. Additionally, you’d be responsible for child support, and potentially a portion of post-secondary education costs. If you believe the child is not your child, you must raise this issue during the pendency of the divorce and request a DNA test.
If the child was born prior to the marriage, you must acknowledge in the divorce that the child is yours and stipulate to the paternity to preserve your rights as the child’s parent. If you fail to do so you don’t waive your rights to the child as their parent, but you’d have to go through a different process and file an entirely new paternity case. Dealing with these issues during the divorce can save you time, money and the hassle of an additional court case.