A tangled web of love and biology

A tangled web of love and biology

A mother of twins was applying for public assistance in New Jersey when she made the seemingly uncontroversial claim that one man was responsible for her progeny. The truth, it turns out, was not so simple.

In an unusual ruling in state Superior Court in Passaic County, New Jersey, Judge Sohail Mohammed found that egg and sperm had colluded to create a medical oddity, according to a report in the New Jersey Law Journal on Thursday. The man, who the woman said was the father of her twins, was deemed responsible for only one.

The other, the ruling revealed, was conceived during a previously undisclosed tryst that happened within a week of sexual intercourse with the man she claimed was the father. It was a tangled web of love and biology that gave rise to what the Law Journal called a precedent-setting ruling, one of only a few  such cases across the country.

The man, originally described as the twins’ father, identified in court documents only as A.S, will now have to pay child support only for the toddler who a DNA test showed was reliably his own.

The case took root when the mother, identified only as T.M, told the Passaic County Board of Social Services in the course of applying for benefits that A.S, her romantic partner, had fathered her twins, the Law Journal reported. The board, in turn, filed an application to establish his paternity and force him to pay child support for the twins, born in January 2013.

But the woman’s claim slowly fell apart. She revealed in testimony that she had had sex with a second, unidentified man within a week of having sex with her romantic partner. A paternity test was ordered.

And when the results came back last November, a routine case became a curiosity destined for legal textbooks.

The judge accepted the results after testimony from Karl-Hans Wurzinger, the laboratory director of the Identity Testing Division at Laboratory Corp of America, the Law Journal reported.

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