It happens. Sometimes we do not know who the biological father of a child is. It is important information to know because paternity has an effect on health issues, and socioeconomic ones. A paternity test is quick, painless (usually just a quick mouth swab) and inexpensive or free. You can initiate a test if you want to confirm paternity for custody and support purposes. In this article, we will discuss how to legally obtain a paternity test.

Timeline for Requesting a Paternity Test

Unmarried parents may seek a paternity test during the first two years after the child’s birth. Married parents are presumed under the law that the husband or spouse is the father of a child born during the marriage. This is also true of same sex marriages.

The State Department of Child Support Services can demand a test as part of the process to establish, collect and enforce child support so the child can have the best life possible.

How to File for a Paternity Test

If you choose to establish paternity, you file a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (FL-200), a Summons (FL-210), and a Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (FL-105). After the case is filed and served, you can ask for a DNA test. When the results return, the court can enter a custody plan and a support order, if required.

Paternity Test Myths

Merely writing a name on the birth certificate does not establish paternity. There must also be a declaration of paternity from the father or spouse. The declaration can, and usually is, provided by the hospital when the baby is born.

You cannot cheat a legal paternity test. The samples are given under supervision and immediately sealed and sent to the lab.

The test is almost never wrong. If it is, it is a false positive and another test is given. Even then, the error is almost always traceable to human error.

If you are seeking a paternity test, it’s important to know your rights before filing. JWB Family Law has a team of legal experts ready to help you through the process. Contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation to get the advice you need.

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