Determining the Best Interests of the Child In New Jersey

The M.F. v. N.H., 252 N.J. Super. 420, 599 A.2d 1297 (App.Div.1991) Court provided a list of factors to consider in determining the child's best interest: Harm to the child such as emotional injury, distrust, and possible confusion of knowing the parenting father is not the biological father; Protection of the child's physical, mental, and emotional needs; The stability of the family relationship and extent of the intrusion that will result from a paternity determination; The consistency of the putative father's interest in the child; Societal stigma that may result or be perceived by establishing sic relationship, including placing the child's birth outside of the traditional wedlock setting; Continuity of established relationships; Any extent to which uncertainty of parentage already exists in the child's mind; The child's interest in knowing family and genetic background, including medical and emotional history.M.F. v. N.H., supra, 252 N.J. Super. at 429-30, 599 A.2d 1297; see also C.R. v. J.G., supra 306 N.J. Super. at 229, 703 A.2d 385. In M.F. v. N.H., 252 N.J. Super. 420, 599 A.2d 1297 (App.Div.1991), a man claimed to be the father of a child born to a woman who was married to another man. 252 N.J. Super. at 423, 599 A.2d 1297. The mother's husband acknowledged that the child was his. Ibid. Therefore, there was a presumption of paternity in favor of the husband. Id., at 426-27, 599 A.2d 1297; see also N.J.S.A. 9:17-43(a). In reversing the lower court's decision to order a blood test, the court held that "the court may not order blood tests or permit the action to continue where the plaintiff's claim of paternity conflicts with the presumption established in N.J.S.A. 9:17-43a(1), unless the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interest of the child." Id., at 429, 599 A.2d 1297.