Paternity Test And Legal Issues In A Father’s Absentia

Paternity Test

The new generation of parenting has seen a steady rise in divorces and civil lawsuits involving custody and child upkeep.

More and more couples are now required to determine the actual father of a child to help in court cases. The best and most accurate way is by doing a paternity test.

Paternity testing is a process used to determine whether or not a man is the biological father of a given child. Paternity testing involves collecting and medically examining the DNA from fluid or tissue samples of the child and his/her supposed father.

DNA is the unique fingerprint that forms an individual’s genes or chromosomes. During conception, the father contributes half of his DNA to the child’s genetic makeup while mother contributes the remaining half. By examining tissues or fluid from the father and the child, one can prove or disprove a paternity.

The Process of Paternity DNA Testing

DNA material is available in most of the human body cells. However, the most used cells are from the blood or buccal cells from the cheek.

Blood Cell DNA Test – This is a straightforward method that involved obtaining blood from the body and directly testing it in an appropriate lab.

Blood Cell DNA Test

Buccal Cell DNA Test (Cheek) – The method requires the use of a cotton swab to collect DNA Material. It takes between 5 to 10 days for results to come out.

Some paternity tests involve examination of an unborn child. Such methods are delicate but equally reliable. The three methods commonly used are commonly used are:

Amniocentesis. The test is done between 13 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. It involves the use of amniotic fluid from the mother’s womb to examine DNA.

Chorionic Villus Sampling. Just like amniocentesis, it is an invasive test that uses samples from the vagina abdominal walls or cervix. The test can be done between weeks 10 to 13 of pregnancy.

Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity. The method is relatively new. The test is done after week 14. Tests require blood samples from the mother where fetal blood cells are separated. The above methods require between three and four weeks for results to be received.

Today, Home DNA test kits are available in laboratories with the required instructions. In this case, cheek cells are collected and sent to the lab for testing. The result is somewhat similar to that of hospital conducted test. This makes it suitable for tests that involve a suspected father who is away.

Court initiated DNA test, however, require the physical presence of the father to allow witnessing, taking photographs and fingerprints. The law does not provide for paternity test where the potential father is away.

Any test done without the potential father’s knowledge can legally be contested. The father has to sign a chain of custody forms for the test to be legally recognized. Such DNA tests are called non-legal tests which can be used for other purposes but not as legal evidence.

There are many ways to do non-legal paternity tests. Samples can be collected from close family members such as siblings. Tests using the father’s full siblings is called avuncular DNA test.

Grandprarantage testing is the most preferred in a father’s absentia. This involves getting sample DNA material from the paternal grandparents.

Grand Parentage DNA Test

Siblingship DNA that utilizes samples from a known child of the potential father. This method requires using the mother’s DNA for final results. DNA tests are estimated to be 99.9% accurate making them the most suitable paternity test procedure.

Determination of true paternity is brought about by some circumstances. In rare cases, people do the test for medical reasons or just for a peace of mind. In most cases, legal issues force parents into performing the test. According to, such legal matters include the following:

Child Support and Custody: If a couple gets married, bear a child and later divorce, the father is legally considered financially responsible for the child.

Whether the man is the biological father or not, he is responsible. However, in cases where the couple unmarried, a there should be a legal relationship before granting custody or child support.

A DNA test is the most preferred method by most states in the United States. The method helps alleviate any doubts from the supposed father and establish legal grounds for the court.

Inheritance Rights: Courts employ this method where the right to inheritance by an heir is in doubt or in under dispute. Whereas some inheritance poses no doubts as to who has the right, some develop arguments leading to court cases. A biological relationship through DNA can easily put any doubts to rest.

Social Security and Life Insurance Benefits: Besides inheritance, heirs have the right to other benefits such as social security and life insurance benefits. Such benefits require the supposed heir to prove his relationship with the deceased.

DNA test is normally prescribed through a court order. This saves the time required, and effort put into gathering heavy documentations for proof.

Immigration: Due to cases of illegal immigration there is often need to proof a person’s relationship with his/her host. Immigration investigation mostly involves a paternity test to determine paternity or maternity. In some instances, grandparent or siblings DNA test are done.

Adoption: Knowing biological parents particularly when a person did not grow with them is such a strong need. This emotional push to know the person who fathered or mothered you may result in DNA testing

The test is usually done to attain peace of mind. In immigration or inheritance court cases involving an adopted person, the test comes in handy.

Author: Joe Clark

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