The issue of paternity most frequently arises when a mother files a motion or petition for child support, and the respondent claims not to be the father of the child or children in question. In other cases, a party may be claiming to be the father of the child in hopes of obtaining a child custody order or visitation order, but the mother denies his paternity.
In such cases, it is generally necessary to obtain DNA test results. If a father denies paternity, a DNA test will determine if there is a biological relationship between father and child. For men, DNA testing may be necessary to prove or disprove their fatherhood. DNA is located throughout the human body and may be found in a person’s skin, cheek lining, muscle, bone, teeth and various other tissues. Historically, genetic testing was conducted by taking a blood sample, but today, DNA tests are often conducted by swabbing a person’s mouth for a saliva sample. These characteristics in a child that cannot be found in the mother will have been inherited from the biological father. Therefore, if the alleged father does not have the genetic characteristics necessary to be the “biological father” of the child, he will be excluded by the DNA test.
In some limited cases, DNA results will be erroneous. Therefore, it is important for paternity litigants to retain an attorney and/or an expert witness to challenge the DNA results. There may be other factual evidence and circumstantial evidence which can prove or disprove a father’s paternity, and in this regard, it is important to retain a trained family lawyer as well.
The Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick have been handling paternity cases, child custody and child support actions for more than 30 years. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.