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What to know about DNA tests

| Dec 18, 2018 | Family Law |

In Alabama and most other states, if a child’s parents are not married when he or she is born, no one is assumed to be the father. Instead, a man may be given the title of alleged father. To prove paternity, a DNA test can be conducted by swabbing a person’s cheek. This is both painless and considered to be a reliable method of getting an accurate test result.

A DNA test can have an accuracy rate of up to 99.99999 percent, and such a test is conducted with strict security protocols in place. Therefore, if the test proves that a man is a child’s father, that assertion is likely to stand up in court. Of course, the same could be true if the test reveals that a man is not the child’s father. Prior to establishing paternity, no child support order can be created as there is no legal noncustodial parent.

However, once paternity is established, a parent generally has all the rights and responsibilities that come with raising a child. For example, a parent is generally allowed to visit with or interact with his or her child in addition to being responsible for child support payments. Furthermore, a man’s name may be added to a child’s birth certificate if a DNA test proves that he is the child’s father.

In a child custody case, it is important to be able to prove that a person is a child’s legal parent. While this can be done voluntarily, there is no guarantee that a person will acknowledge paternity. An attorney may help someone compel his or her ex to take a DNA test as a prerequisite for creating a child support order. Refusing a court order to take a test or pay child support may come with significant penalties.