Armstrong Law, P.C.

What is involved in paternity testing?

Fathers who have not legally established a relationship with their children should consider taking a paternity test. As a legally recognized father in Massachusetts, you would have greater child custody and visitation rights and can also more directly provide for your children. A DNA test is an important way to clarify your biological relationship with your children, and according to the Cleveland Clinic, it is a pretty simple process.

The goal of DNA testing is to determine if a child shares a prospective father’s DNA. DNA is genetic material that is unique to each human being. During conception, a child acquires half of his or her DNA from the father and the mother. A father seeks to show from a DNA test that his genetic material is also present in his child.

A DNA test uses sampled DNA from both the child and the father. It is simple for a father to give a DNA sample. DNA resides in many cells in the human body, so it is not hard for a medical professional to extract a sample. A person will usually provide a DNA sample from blood or from buccal cells, which can be found in a person’s mouth inside the cheeks and can be obtained with a cotton swab.

DNA testing is known for its high accuracy rate, so it may offer a definitive answer to a person’s status as a father. A result finding in favor of fatherhood is accurate to about 99.9%. A DNA test can be just as accurate in determining that someone is not a father to 100%. However, although paternity tests can be taken at home, courts will not consider them admissible. Court ordered paternity tests typically require witnesses and positive identification of fingerprints and photographs.

It is also possible to conduct a paternity test while a baby is still in the womb, but these tests, which involve extracting cells from the unborn baby, carry some risks of miscarriage, so many medical professionals do not recommend them if the procedures involved are only intended to prove paternity. Consultation with a qualified physician is essential to understand all safe and viable options.

Paternity, when established, can vastly enrich the life of your child or children. Consider discussing the matter with a professional family law attorney if you are considering a DNA test. This article is not written to provide you with legal advice. Due to the varying needs of Massachusetts fathers, you should only read this article as reference material.

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