Paternity DNA testing provides scientific support for who the biological father of the child is. It is determined by extracting the child’s DNA and the alleged father’s DNA. 

Maternity tests are also available for legal purposes or to establish parenthood for the mother. The tests can be used to document the parent’s identification on the child’s birth certificate. Furthermore, courts need an established paternity before they can order any child support or custody rights. 

Why Should I Establish Paternity?

Paternity testing provides a stable and protective environment for the child. A child has a right to self- identification through the knowledge of his biological parents.

Legal benefits are available to children through their parents and some of these include: 

  • Inheritance rights;
  • Life insurance; 
  • Veteran benefits; 
  • Social security; 
  • Child support from biological father and;
  • Avoidance of fraudulent child support claims.

Additionally, a paternity test is needed to recognize medical histories. Being aware of both parents’ biological medical history can help predict the diagnoses or treatments for the child. Therefore, it is beneficial for the emotional and physical well being of the child to establish paternity. 

What is the Process of Challenging Paternity?

Each state is different when it comes to filing for a petition to challenge the paternity. Therefore, it is important to consult with a paternity lawyer and your local family court to determine the correct process of challenging paternity. 

The first step is to file in the local family court a complaint regarding the paternity test. Once filed, the court can order one or more DNA tests for the father and the child for evidence. Other evidence of medical records can also assist in combining the materials for the paternity. 

However, sometimes, blood tests are not sufficient to establish paternity, but DNA tests are most accurate in determining who the biological father is. In the end, the court will issue an order naming the biological father. This will be able to assist in determining child support and custody arrangements. 

What is the Determination of Paternity Between Married and Unmarried Couples?

In most states, if the couple is married when the child was conceived, the husband is the  presumed biological father of the child. However, this can change if the couple were separated while the child was born or conceived. This presumption is “rebuttable,” which means that the husband can file a timely disapproval legal request with the court. 

For unmarried couples, there is no presumption and there will be a need to establish paternity. The court can offer opportunity for the alleged father to establish paternity. If an alleged father receives a court order to complete a paternity test, he must comply promptly. Failure to do so can result in a default judgement, meaning that the court will issue an order without the paternity test. Therefore, you could end up supporting someone else’s child if you ignore the court orders.

Additionally, a stepfather is not legally obligated to financially support his wife’s children unless he legally adopts them. 

What Are the Grounds in Challenging Paternity?

Courts use several factors to determine the grounds for challenging paternity and these include: 

  • Proof that the assumed father is sterile or infertile;
  • Proof of tampering with the lab tests of the established paternity; 
  • Proof that the mother of the child committed infidelity during the marriage or at the time of conception and;
  • Inconclusive, tainted or fraudulent lab test results. 

All states can vary in terms of the grounds to challenge the paternity. 

How Can I Obtain An Accurate Paternity Test?

Today, there are many ways available to establish parenthood. However, it is important to do more research before finalizing the method of conducting an accurate paternity test. A court ordered paternity can also have some chances of being incorrect. 

Therefore, it will be useful to carefully consider how to establish paternity in your case. Accredited laboratories have strict policies on the handling of DNA samples and intake which can ensure more efficiency than at home paternity tests or other places.  

What Happens to Same-Sex Couples?

Most states are still grappling with issues concerning same- sex marriage. Therefore, the laws are still developing for rights of the same-sex couples. When it comes to parenting, it is still unclear how the states will decide. 

However, across many states in most cases both parents can add their names on the child’s birth certificate. But this may not be enough to protect the rights of the non-biological parent’s rights if they are separated or the biological parent dies later. Therefore, it is important to seek out a family lawyer to deal with these complicated issues and ensure your rights are not infringed.

Should I Consult a Lawyer Regarding Paternity?

If you are trying to conduct a paternity test or have been ordered by the court to do so timing is crucial. The sooner you are able to consult a family law attorney, the earlier you can establish the parenthood bond and be able to enjoy the rights of being a father or a mother for your child.