Paternity testing is an issue that is naturally fraught with a lot of emotion. Proof of paternity answers an important question, which will have legal ramifications and a significant impact on the child’s life. However, getting the suspected father to submit to a DNA test can be difficult in some cases, and you might wonder if you actually need his permission at all.
The requirement of knowledge and consent in DNA testing
If you require legal DNA test results that will hold up in court, the person whose DNA is being tested must know about the test and give his consent for his genetic material to be tested. DNA testing facilities require signed consent forms from the person whose sample is being tested before they will conduct the test.
If the father is present, available and willing, he participates in the test and has the sample analyzed in a DNA testing lab. The lab would also require a sample from the child and the child’s mother. Once the results are in, if the DNA test proves paternity, the court will declare that the father is the legal father, his name will be added to the birth certificate, and the issues of child support and custody and visitation can be decided. DNA test results are about 99.9999% accurate when done correctly and using a sample that comes directly from the father.
If the suspected father does not agree to take the test of his own volition, the court can issue an “order of parentage” and compel the potential father to submit to DNA testing. If he refuses to take a court-ordered paternity test, he will face legal consequences such as being held in contempt of court, and he will be subject to fines and possible criminal charges.
Testing for paternity when the father is unable to be tested
If the father is no longer living or unreachable somehow, the child’s paternal grandparents’ DNA can be tested. The DNA samples from the DNA of full siblings of the alleged father, the child and the mother can also be used to determine if there is a match. Another option is to test the DNA of a known child of the possible father.
It is always best to get the father’s consent, and be honest when it comes to the issue of establishing paternity. A skilled Annapolis child custody attorney from Cynthia H. Clark & Associates, LLC can help you work through the challenges of establishing paternity and deciding child custody and visitation issues.
At Cynthia H. Clark & Associates, LLC, we are here for you during the entire child custody process. You may reserve a consultation at our office in Annapolis by calling 410.921.2422 or filling out our contact form.