A paternity test may be necessary when a party is attempting to verify the identity of a child’s father. It is most often required in cases where a party is trying to collect child support and needs to establish that the individual is in fact the child’s father and thus can be held liable for the payments.
Paternity testing is usually performed voluntarily by the person who is supposedly the child’s father. Such requests for testing are frequently agreed upon by the parties outside of a courtroom.
The individual who is the alleged father will usually be asked to give a sample of their DNA to a lab in order to scientifically determine if they are the father of a particular child. If the test results show that they are the biological father, then they may be responsible for providing a number of legal benefits to the child.
There are some cases, however, where a judge may need to issue a court order to obtain a paternity test if the parties are not cooperating. This usually happens in cases that involve a formal paternity hearing to be held before a court.
In addition, while this article primarily discusses the issues involved with paternity testing and lab results, it is important to note that a person does not necessarily need to be the child’s biological father for the court to consider them as the legal father of a child. Therefore, a person may still be held liable for things like child support if they have adopted the child or hold themselves out as the child’s father.
What are Some Common Examples of Disputes Involving Paternity Tests?
There are certain occasions when a dispute may arise regarding the results of a paternity test. This is especially true when a test is being done for the purposes of some kind of legal proceeding.
One of the most frequently recurring examples of a paternity testing dispute is where a party is contesting paternity based on the outcome of a paternity test. Other common types of paternity disputes involve issues, such as the following:
- When there are errors regarding the lab test results;
- If fraud or deception is present concerning the results (e.g., the results were tampered with);
- Issues over the amount of monthly child support payments;
- Disputes about termination of child support payments;
- Conflicts regarding child visitation and child custody rights; and
- Disputes regarding paternity testing conducted during a party’s pregnancy (i.e., prenatal testing disputes).
Other types of conflicts that may come up might involve the documents used during the procedures for paternity testing, such as a child’s birth certificate. Errors in the application for a paternity test can also become a factor in a paternity testing case as well.
How Do I Resolve a Paternity Test Dispute?
Paternity testing disputes can sometimes be resolved by getting a second paternity test done. A second opinion may be able to help resolve certain issues, such as procedural lab errors or mistakes made in regard to the final results.
In most cases, however, paternity DNA tests are extremely accurate and often are not subject to very many technical errors. If a mistake is found though, it is usually the product of some type of human error made during the paternity test or in the reading of the test results. Thus, a court may search the party’s records for errors made either when a person was inputting the data in a system or in concluding the final results.
Other disputes, such as those involving child custody or child support payments, are typically separate issues and may require additional proof from the parties. For instance, in order to terminate child support, the court will likely request documents showing each of the party’s finances and assets as well as the age and special requirements of the child.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for Help with Paternity Testing Issues?
Paternity and child support are commonly disputed issues within a family law courtroom. Such issues can not only have an effect on both of the parties’ lives, but will also have an impact on the child’s life as well.
As such, if you have any questions or are involved in a dispute regarding paternity test issues, then you should consider consulting a local family law attorney for further assistance.
An experienced family law attorney will be able to guide through any legal procedures, can provide advice on what to do about the dispute, and can assist you with preparing a case if necessary.
In addition, a lawyer can also help you protect your rights regardless of whether or not you are the child’s father, represent you in court for any related legal proceedings, and can assist you with filing for damages if necessary.
Finally, a family law attorney can also help you with any other relevant family law issues that are connected to the paternity testing case, such as amending child support payments or requesting child visitation rights.