Lincoln Memorial University Law Review Archive

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As long as the concept of monogamy has existed, humans have looked for ways to escape it. Children, a natural consequence of sexual activity, are often negatively affected by the lack of a supportive family structure in single-family households. To correct this, courts often order child support to be paid from one parent to another, usually through the State. This is why paternity determinations are an important court function. One aspect courts have neglected, however, is child support for expecting mothers during pregnancy. Prenatal child support for expecting mothers would help alleviate some of the prenatal costs and make the father invested in the child before birth. Under current Tennessee law, these equitable prenatal outcomes are impossible for unwed mothers, mothers with multiple partners, or fathers who suspect infidelity. That is why this paper argues in favor of passing legislation allowing courts to order prenatal paternity tests and prenatal child support.This paper first discusses the history of paternity testing. Second, it analyzes the current legal state with a focus on Tennessee. Third, it argues for court-ordered prenatal paternity testing. Finally, it includes proposed legislation allowing the court to order prenatal paternity testing.

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