The Pennsylvania Superior Court decided the case of N.C. v. M.H. on May 1, 2007. In that case the Court discussed the issues relating to the presumption of paternity and the doctrine of estoppel.
In Pennsylvania, there is a presumption that a child born to an intact marriage is a child of the marriage. However, the presumption is rebuttable.
If the presumption is rebutted or found to be inapplicable, the next step is to determine if the father is estopped from denying paternity based upon the fact that he has held the child out as his own. The rationale behind the doctrine is to prevent a child from suffering trauma by finding out that a person he thought was his father actually was not.
The doctrine of paternity by estoppel will not apply where there is fraud which caused the father to believe the child was his. The concept of fraud is discussed at length in this case by the Superior Court.
The entire case can be reviewed by clicking on the title above.