DNA paternity testing can be done for a number of reasons, but usually, it’s to establish true legal paternity for a child or children. Having legal paternity allows the child to inherit from their parents as well as receive other benefits such as those from the VA or military dependent benefits.
In many cases, a paternity test is ordered by the court to find out exactly who a biological father is. But what if one parent doesn’t consent to the testing?
Two Types Of Paternity Testing
Anyone can pick up a DNA test at the drug store this weekend, some for under $100. If you’re a father with limited access to your child, a cheek swab is quick and easy to do, and you’ll have the results in two to four weeks.
An over-the-counter DNA test may have a certain amount of accuracy and answer your question. But the results aren’t admissible in court. You must have permission from the child’s parent or guardian to administer any type of DNA testing, whether for the court or not.
To determine legal paternity, you’ll have to petition the court to request a “legal” DNA test from companies like IdentaGene, Forensic DNA and DNA Diagnostics Center. For one parent to get a DNA test, the other parent will have to give consent first. Either parent can request this test, as can a guardian. If the child is over 18, he or she can also request their own court-ordered paternity testing without the parent’s permission.
The Presumed Father
For instance, when a child is born to a married woman, it is presumed to be fathered by her husband. However, if a married couple splits, and the woman has moved on to another relationship, a child born of the new relationship is presumed to be the husband’s if the divorce isn’t yet final. Since Texas doesn’t have legal separation, a couple is married until the day the divorce is signed, regardless of where or with whom they live.
After the divorce, the husband could be required to pay child support for a child that isn’t his. A court-ordered DNA test establishes or rules out paternity. However, if all three of the individuals involved agree that the husband is not the father, the husband can remove that child out of the divorce proceedings.
Testing Without The Father
Should a father refuse to take a paternity test, he will be found in contempt of court, and the judge will eventually issue a court order for him to take one.
If the father is unavailable, it’s possible to get DNA from parents, grandparents, siblings, as well as aunts and uncles to complete a test, since they will share much of the DNA as the alleged father. But getting a DNA sample directly from the father will produce the most accurate result.
The mother’s DNA isn’t necessary to establish paternity.
For Unmarried Parents
In Texas, an unmarried father has no rights to his child until paternity is formally established. The Office of the Attorney General files a petition asking the court to establish an alleged father as the biological father, and order a cheek-swab paternity test. The samples can be taken in court, at a Child Support office, or at an approved local clinic.
If there is no question about the child’s paternity, both parents can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP), and paternity is established immediately.
Need Help With Paternity Issues? Contact Fort Worth’s Compassionate Family Law Attorney
Wendy L. Hart is an experienced family law attorney helping people throughout Tarrant County who need help after a divorce. As a divorcee herself, Wendy understands the process as well as the difficulties involved. We represent both men and women. We’ll make sure you’re treated fairly and will protect your interests and your children.