Paternity (dna test)

Welcome to the Paternity department of Divorce and FamilyLawService Center. Here we will go over the definition, establishment and enforcement of paternity. We will also touch on the process of the dna paternity test and paternity fraud.

What is paternity?

Paternity is the legal relationship between a father and a child. If paternity is in question, the mother, father, or the child can ask the court for determination of paternity.

Establishment and Enforcement of Paternity

Establishing paternity is necessary in the enforcement of legal issues such as child support, child custody, child visitation and inheritance rights. It is the right of every child to have the support of two parents. The easiest way to establish paternity is for the presumed father to openly declare it on the birth certificate or (if not on the birth certificate) to sign a statement declaring himself as the father. He may choose not to voluntarily acknowledge paternity. In this day and age, paternity is established with a simple dna test. Collecting a sample is as easy as swabbing the inside of the cheek. Please visit our Enforcement department for more information.

Please be aware that if a man signs an affidavit acknowledging paternity, that legal establishment of paternity between father and child is for life. Before signing that affidavit, a man should be willing to fulfill all the responsibilities it entails. Most courts tend to maintain the legal responsibilities, including child support, even if it is proven in the future that he is not the biological father. A simple dna test prior to signing any paternal acknowledgement affidavit would be wise course of action.

Paternity Fraud

Paternity fraud occurs when a divorcing husband questions the fact that he is the biological father of the child born during the marriage or an unmarried man feels he is wrongly assumed to be the father of a child.

You may be surprised to learn around 30% of dna tests for paternity rule out the presumed father as the biological father. Paternity fraud does exist and taking a dna test is the best way to prove or disprove paternity.

Paternity dna Testing

Once the man has agreed to the paternity test either voluntarily or by court order, there are some requirements that must be met for the paternity test to proceed. Consent forms are signed and valid identification shown (government issued such as a driver’s license, passport, or military i.d.). The child’s parent is required to show a birth certificate and social security card. These documents are photocopied, and a photo and thumbprint are kept on file for each person tested. These measures help to prevent paternity fraud.