Do you need to get a paternity test done? With this guide, you can learn how a legal paternity test can affect you and your family. From the refusal to collect DNA samples to father’s rights, you can understand the basics of paternity law. Now let’s take a look at legal factors you need to know about: 

Establishing paternity has several legal consequences that intertwine the lives of both the mother, father and the child forever. The father is given legal rights once paternity is established and is now responsible for providing his share of financial support and taking the time to care for his child.   

For the mother, paternity establishes financial support from the father. However, the child receives financial support, shelter, the right to inherit, as well as access to health information.

Paternity law fluctuates from state to state, so it’s best to check with a knowledgable attorney before filing a lawsuit. However, most states follow these basic guidelines as to who is allowed to file a lawsuit for legal paternity testing

  • The mother of the child
  •  An expected mother
  •  A man stating to be the biological father of an unborn or already born child
  •  The child themselves, but only if he or she has reached the “age of majority” (depending on state law the age ranges between eighteen and twenty-one)
  •  A social service agency 

Once you file a civil lawsuit, a court will review your case and determine if a paternity test is necessary. If ordered, the mother, child, and alleged father will be asked to give DNA samples at an accredited facility.

Can a Father Refuse to Take a Paternity Test?    

The simple answer is yes; a father can refuse to take a paternity test even if it’s court-ordered; however, there will likely be consequences. For his refusal, he’ll likely be held in contempt of court and may have to pay fines or may even face charges.  

What Makes a DNA Paternity Test Allowed in Court?   

Like all paternity law, different states have different rules and regulations as to what constitutes an admissible DNA paternity test. Some basic guidelines most states follow are: 

  1. An accredited third-party provider collects the DNA sample 
  2. The DNA is then taken to the lab for testing
  3. The sample is tested
  4. The results are sent to the court

Legal DNA paternity testing has an accuracy percentage of up to 99.9%. However, if any part of the process is tampered with, then it could result in the DNA test not being included in the case. 

What Rights Do Fathers Have?  

Fathers have a variety of rights that secure their place and help make decisions about their child’s lives. These rights include child custody, parental leave, and family planning. 

For example, a father has the right to protest against and petition for full custody if he doesn’t want the child to be given up for adoption. However, in a recent study, only 17.4 percent of custodial parents are fathers. While fathers have a variety of rights, the court will always look out for the interests of the child.  

Final Thoughts   

All in all, legal paternity tests are needed for those that need to identify the father of a child. With its 99.9% accuracy, DNA paternity tests distinguish if the alleged father is a genetic match. 

The results can be used in court to determine custody agreements and child support payments. For more information about legal DNA testing, keep browsing our blog.