Paternity Testing and The Law

Paternity testing can help solve family issues centering on the issue of paternity. In some cases, paternity lawsuits may arise and in such cases a paternity test becomes a crucial legal tool used to bring an end to uncertainty and establish the limits of parental responsibility. The test is so reliable that is accepted in the judicial systems of most countries including Ireland.

If any issues regarding paternity arise, it makes sense to have these solved by means of a paternity DNA test. The benefits a child gets from a clear, scientific paternity confirmation are several and include anything from identity (the sense of belonging that the child benefits from knowing both parents), financial (money that must be provided towards education and upbringing) and Public Assistance. There are of course many others- including paternity testing for child support. That said, although paternity tests have become such a part of the social fabric of this age, there are many arguments against it.

How early should I carry out a paternity test?

You should determine paternity as soon as possible so that you can be involved in the child’s life. If you are thinking of starting a family, you cannot healthily sustain your role in the family if you harbour doubts about the issue. Paternity testing can be a part of the family planning process. You need to establish legal paternity as early as possible to help towards planning a solid future. The following might be important points to keep in mind and help you understand the concept of “legal paternity”.

  • If the mother is married when the child is born, her husband is assumed to be the legal father of the child. If a period of less than 10 months has elapsed since a divorce, the husband at the time of conception will still, legally, be considered the father. If the mother is married at the time of birth but the husband contests paternity, a court order may be issued for a paternity DNA test.
  • If the mother of the child is unmarried then the following applies: a paternity affidavit must be signed by the mother and the father within 72 hours of birth. The State Department of Health and Human Services issues this document. The paternity affidavit means the father has all rights and responsibilities over the child.
  • In some states, the Mother and Husband can sign an “Affidavit of Denial of Paternity” where both agree that the Husband is not the Father of the child.

In some cases a court case might ensue which might require a DNA test; in this case, a court ordered paternity test might be issued. It is important that no paternity affidavit has been signed for a period of more than 60 days.

Some states, such as Kansas, have even introduced a bill making it mandatory for a child’s father to be genetically verified. If you have been contemplating a paternity test, you have probably also considered its implications – both good and bad. You know however, that your child will get all the legal benefits as dictated by the law once a father has been named. In Ireland, the situation will be different; you will need to seek information about DNA testing in Ireland from a reputable Ireland based company.

The American Pregnancy Association recommends paternity testing from a testing facility that is AABB accredited. If the need for the test arises, it generally makes absolute sense to go ahead with the paternity test despite the potential distress it may cause.