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Paternity Suit Deadlines: Rielle Hunter Wants Paternity Test for John Edwards, But is It Too Late?

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By Javier Lavagnino, Esq. on May 08, 2009 12:36 PM

Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards may be in need of some "Resilience" of his own considering the reports about his former mistress, Rielle Hunter, possibly seeking a paternity test.

If so, this would represent a change-of-heart from last year when her lawyer, Robert Gordon, "released a statement saying she 'will not participate in DNA testing or any other invasion of her or her daughter's privacy now or in the future.'" The timing certainly makes one wonder whether this might be in any way related to Elizabeth Edwards' soon-to-be-released book wherein she supposedly "calls Hunter's life 'pathetic'".

But, even assuming Rielle Hunter wants a paternity test, some people might be wondering if it's even legal for her to wait this long to do so? The answer is most likely, although people should be aware that the law on paternity will vary from state to state. Paternity actions have to be brought within the time specified by a jurisdiction's applicable statute of limitations. This can be affected by who brings the paternity lawsuit. For example, a mother and father might have less time to bring a paternity suit than the child does. A child usually has the right to have paternity established all the way until the age of majority (which varies by state), and sometimes they even have some time after that too. Parents bringing a paternity suit on their own behalf may have much tighter deadlines applied to them.

Previously, Edwards had said he would "welcome" a paternity test, but also suggested "that because of the "timing' of his affair 'it's not possible that this child could be mine.'" If a paternity suit were to establish that John Edwards was the father, that would open the door to pursuing child support for Rielle Hunter's daughter, Frances Quinn Hunter.

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