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NBA legend calls 'foul' on paternity suit

For most people, worrying about their immediate biological history is unnecessary. Monogamy, marriage, and responsible parenting almost always leads to complete certainty on matters of a child's paternity. However, in some instances the answers may not be so clear-cut.

In such cases, the administration of a paternity test may be necessary. However, for children, parents, and potential parents in Texas and across the nation, situations such as these can often become emotionally charged and deeply personal. Questions of fidelity, finances, and personal responsibility are bound to come up, and the results of such a test can change the lives of everyone involved.

One of the most successful and recognizable athletes in history is currently caught up in just such a paternity case, and while the proceedings' financial outcome may not make much of a dent in the man's wealth, the publicity and personal implications could be formidable.

Earlier this month Michael Jordan, who won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, was pressed with a paternity suit from an Atlanta woman who claims that the basketball All-Star is the biological father of her 16-year-old son. This week, attorneys representing the woman demanded that Jordan submit to a paternity test to settle the question. Jordan has denied all paternal connections to the boy outright.

The Atlanta woman, who is 48-years-old, is seeking child support assistance from Jordan as well as the right to legally change the boy's last name to "Jordan," should the paternity test prove that the basketball legend is indeed the father. Jordan's legal team has submitted a counterclaim, citing records from the woman's past divorce that acknowledged her ex-husband as the boy's rightful father.

In this case, a paternity test that points to Jordan as the boy's biological father would have muted financial consequences. Jordan would only be responsible for roughly two years of financial support-until the boy turns 18 and graduates from high school. Being acknowledged as fathering a child out of wedlock, however, could have much more damaging effects on the superstar's public image.

Paternity tests are always high-stakes legal situations. As such, having the best possible legal support is essential through every step of the process. Working with an experienced family law attorney can help to keep both finances and reputations in good, rightful standing.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Michael Jordan Paternity Suit Judge Asked To Order DNA Test For Basketball Star," David Beasley, Mar. 12, 2013

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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