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DNA Paternity Testing and Child Custody
Waking the Deadbeats
On the other side of the paternity claim coin, is the unfortunate instance in which a legitimate father attempts to disclaim responsibility for one of his own. Literally hundreds of thousands of children are born each year fatherless, with the mother left out in the cold. The sad truth is that many estranged fathers attempt to avoid their duty to pay child support, conveniently denying their paternity. Fortunately, DNA Paternity Tests can help put an immediate end to such despicable practices.
In such cases, home DNA testing can be employed to add cement to legitimate paternity claims. While current DNA technology can absolutely exclude a putative father, it can also with, levels of accuracy well exceeding 99%, help prevent potential deadbeat dads from shirking their moral responsibilities.
When appropriate, most state courts will now order legal DNA tests to conclusively determine paternity. If test results indicate paternity, the fathers are generally advised to sign an acknowledgement of the fact; otherwise, it becomes a matter for a judge (and in some cases, a jury) to handle. However, due to the well-established, and almost universally accepted, accuracy of AABB-accredited DNA testing such cases rarely go to trail.
Keeping Ties Bound
Another area in which DNA can add significant influence is in child custody cases. In laws that vary by state, parentage is generally defined either according to biology, the historical role of the parent, or a combination of the two. In cases in which a paternal biological relationship is in question, DNA testing is often the difference between granting and denying custody and visitation rights. In regions in which biological proof takes precedence, DNA is often the factor that prevents familial links from being broken.
The most common application of DNA testing in child custody cases arises from a mothers claim of non-paternity against a former cohabitant. In many such cases, the paternal figure in the childs life has always considered the child to be his own, meeting such a proclamation with complete shock. In his mind, there was never any doubt that he was the childs father; only with the dissolution of the relationship did the purported revelation emerge.
Depending on local statutes, such a claim might be sufficient for placing the burden of proof on the shoulders of the putative father. It is in such cases that DNA testing as court-admissible evidence can be crucial. By offering into evidence the results of a legal DNA paternity test, fathers concerned about potentially losing their children can introduce virtually incontrovertible proof-of-paternity.
Similarly, in cases where evidence of a fathers historical relationship with a purported child is insufficient to guarantee custody, DNA evidence can also add measurable weight to a case looking to prove non-paternity. When a father makes the assumption of biological paternity but has a questionable relationship history with the claimed child, a 100% exclusion of the man as biological father could change the dynamic of the case considerably. Imagine degrading the mans status in the courts eyes from “semi-absent father” to “occasional male visitor” in the short time it takes to simply read cheap DNA testing results.
Sadly, a far too common declaration made by those who finally do seek out child support and custody-related DNA paternity tests is “I only wish I had done this sooner.” Such individuals belatedly realize that their initial fear of learning the truth was insignificant compared to the prospect of not knowing. Increasing numbers of these mothers and fathers are employing technological advances in genetics to add quantifiable strength to the answers to their paternity-related questions.
See also DNA Paternity Testing and Child Support for more information about DNA Paternity Testing or go to GeneTree for a free paternity test kit.
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