How to Get Court-Ordered Paternity Testing

By Contributor

If you are a single mom, the father of your child can't walk away from paying child support just because the two of you never married. Paternity testing definitively establishes the father of your child, which is a good thing: a child born out of wedlock still deserves the same rights to child support as one who was born in a marriage. Make sure you know your rights granted to your child under the law. Here's a brief primer on how to get court-ordered paternity testing to affirm that a man is the biological father of your child.

If the father of your child is adverse to paying child support or disclaims paternity, expect resistance. When it comes to children born out of wedlock, a man has the option of voluntarily signing a form at a hospital at the time your child was born acknowledging that he is your child's biological father. If this was not your case, it should come as no surprise if he contests when you attempt to collect child support. This is simply a stall tactic. Don't be discouraged.

If you know the identify of the father of your child, get a court order that makes him undergo DNA testing. This is here having legal counsel is necessary; initiating a paternity suit yourself is not advisable, given the volatile nature of these suits, as well as the many twists and turns that you will not be able to anticipate. If you don't have an attorney or cannot afford one, look in the yellow pages in your city for a legal aid clinic or pro bono legal service that can assist you. These low- or no-cost nonprofits are designed so that everyone has recourse in a court of law. They are run by practicing attorneys who volunteer their time and services.

If there are no legal aid clinic or pro bono legal services available in your city, contact the attorney general's office in your state. This agency is responsible for enforcing the collection of child support. It behooves the state to see that the biological father of every child pays child support--this means that your child will not have to receive public assistance that comes out of state coffers.

Know the procedure involved. A court can order paternity testing prior to your child's birth, but this is a rarity. More often, paternity testing is done after the child is born to avoid risky testing procedures, such as amniocentesis. More commonly, a blood and/or tissue sample is taken from you, your child and the child's alleged father (also called the "putative" father) at a laboratory that specializes in DNA testing.

Understand that establishing paternity gives the father certain rights, in addition to responsibilities. Establishing a man as the father of your child will result in him being financially accountable for that child's welfare. However, this also grants the father custody or visitation rights as well. The father of your child can ask the court for these privileges; and because many states have determined, by law, that it is in the best interest of a child to establish a relationship with both parents, you might not be able to prevent the father of your child from receiving custody or visitation rights.

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