The role of DNA testing in paternity cases

A DNA test may be able to prove to almost 100 percent accuracy that a Florida resident is the parent of a child. It could also disprove an allegation that an individual is the parent to a particular child. Establishing paternity is important because it is usually the first step in obtaining a child support order when the child's parents are not married.

It can also be used in cases where parents apply for government resources such as Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF). In this scenario, the mother's partner is not automatically considered to be the father. However, it is not necessary to take a DNA test to establish paternity. In some cases, the parents can voluntarily acknowledge who the baby's father is. In the event that a DNA test is conducted, the process will remain confidential, and labs tend to have strict rules about chain of custody during the testing process.

The test could involve taking a blood sample or taking a cheek swab. Cheek swabs may be preferable to most parties because they are painless and just as reliable as blood tests in most cases. Once paternity is established, a father may be granted visitation and other rights to the child as well as being ordered to pay child support.

After a separation or divorce, a custodial parent may be entitled to child support payments and other forms of assistance. However, if the parents were never married, a DNA test may be needed to confirm who the baby's father is. An attorney could take steps to compel a potential mother or father to take such a test. On the other hand, a noncustodial parent could hire a lawyer who could help them obtain visitation and other rights to a child after paternity has been established.

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