Paternity DNA Testing

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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What Is a Paternity Action?

A paternity action is a court suit filed to have a man declared the father of a child and can be brought by either the mother or father. If the man is determined to be the father, the court will order child support payments and will give him custody or visitation rights.  DNA tests today can determine paternity with 99.9% accuracy and can rule out paternity with 100% accuracy. DNA tests determining paternity are usually admissible in court.

What Is DNA Testing?

In the practice of testing for paternity, DNA profiling allows for the direct examination of a child's genetic material. The genetic characteristics of the child are compared to its mother. Those characteristics not found in the mother must have been inherited from the father. Next, the suspected father is tested, and if he does not have those genetic characteristics, then he is not the father. If he does have those characteristics, the probability that he is the biological father is then calculated.

What Else Should I Know About DNA Testing?

There are certain things that anybody thinking about a paternity test should be aware of.  These include: 

Is DNA Testing the Only Way to Establish Fatherhood?

DNA testing only shows that there is a biological link between the father and the child. Courts have recognized that a father need not be genetically linked to the child. So a man can be the legal father of a child even if the DNA test rules out a biological link. 

Do I Need a Lawyer Experienced with DNA Testing?

It may be helpful to consult an experienced family lawyer. A family lawyer can help you establish or deny paternity and represent you in court.

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Last Modified: 05-01-2014 03:24 PM PDT

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