Paternity Testing

Importance Of Establishing Paternity

Recently, I have received several different versions of the same question: “Is it really necessary to go through the process to establish paternity? We both know who the father is!” In some cases one parent isn’t sure how much the father wants to be involved in the child’s life and in other cases, the couples are happily in love and picture a long life together. The bottom line is, YES! Establishing paternity provides several benefits to your child, as well as to the parents.

Benefits to the Child

One of the main reasons for establishing paternity is to protect the rights of your child so that his or her needs will be taken care of until adulthood. Some of the benefits your child may be entitled to include: child support, social security benefits, health insurance coverage, and the right to inherit. Without establishing paternity, the father can easily walk away from the obligation of child support and other costs, placing all of the financial burden on the mother.

Benefits to the Mother

For mothers, benefits of establishing paternity include: the right to child support payments, sharing parental responsibility, establishing a court-ordered visitation schedule, health insurance coverage for your child under the father’s plan, and the right to information regarding the father’s health history.

Benefits to the Father

By establishing paternity, fathers receive benefits as well. A father may be entitled to: having his name on the child’s birth certificate, the right to seek visitation or custody from the court, and if the child is going to be given up for adoption, the father has the right to be informed of and involved in the adoption proceedings.

Paternity actions tend to be complex and involve many legal implications and nuances. An experienced family law attorney can help you fully understand your options and rights, and assist you in protecting your child. Even if you’re not convinced it’s necessary to establish paternity, at least consider discussing the pros and cons with an attorney.

Paternity Testing

Paternity testing determines who the father of an individual is. Paternity testing can have important personal and legal implications. You may be seeking financial or emotional support, or you may simply want peace of mind from knowing. If you are involved in a legal dispute involving paternity a qualified family law attorney can be instrumental in protecting your legal rights and interests.

Legally, why is paternity testing important?

In cases where paternity testing is needed for legal issues, the results are vital in determining issues such as child custody, child support, inheritance, adoption, citizenship, immigration, and more. The court uses paternity test records to issue orders in many family law disputes and divorce cases.

How is paternity testing administered?

There are several ways paternity testing can be administered. The oldest tests, called red blood grouping tests, were used to exclude paternity rather than identify the father. While red blood grouping tests are very reliable, the most advanced paternity testing involves the highly accurate scientific process of DNA testing. DNA paternity testing is almost 100 percent accurate and is accepted as legal evidence in court.

What type of sample is required?

DNA paternity tests can involve samples of blood, saliva, hair, or other things that contain DNA. However, the most common method of paternity testing is the painless, non-invasive buccal/mouth swab in which a sample of cheek cells are taken from the inside of a patient’s cheek with a cotton-like swab. The cells are then tested to determine if the DNA of the patients match.

Who does paternity testing involve?

Paternity testing usually involves the mother, child, and alleged father. However, testing can still be administered if the mother is not present. Paternity testing can also be performed before the birth of a child. A CVS test can determine paternity as early as the tenth week of pregnancy and amniocentesis can be performed between weeks 14 to 24 of pregnancy.

What if one parent is deceased?

DNA paternity testing can also be administered when one or both parents of the child are deceased. DNA samples can be taken from the alleged father’s kin. While these tests are reliable, they are not as accurate as direct paternity testing.

Where is paternity testing performed?

A number of public and private medical facilities in the United States offer paternity testing. However, it is very important to make sure your paternity test is administered by an agency or hospital that is accredited by the Parentage Testing Committee of the American Association of Blood Banks to ensure your test results are accurate and will be upheld in court.

What does it cost?

The cost of paternity testing is dependent on what procedure is performed. Prices can range anywhere from $50 to $2,000. At-home DNA paternity kits are less expensive and are available over the Internet. However, they are considered “curiosity tests” and aren’t court-approved unless the tests are administered in a laboratory and witnessed by an authorized third party.

For more information about paternity testing, please contact us today to speak with an experienced and qualified family law attorney who can protect your legal rights and maximize your options.