Being unsure about whether you are the father of a child, or being a mother who is unsure about who is the father of a child, can be an unnerving experience. Indeed, both mothers and alleged fathers alike surely want confirmation of paternity - once paternity is established, other benefits ensue, such as child support, and the right to seek child custody and visitation with a child.
When paternity is undetermined or either party is in disagreement regarding who the father may be, the case can go to court. If it does, a judge may order that an alleged father submits to paternity testing. Here’s what you need to know--
Who Can Start a Paternity Case?
When paternity is undetermined, there are four different parties who are legally allowed to initiate a paternity case, and ultimately request DNA paternity testing. These parties include a potential father, a mother, a child’s guardian, or the state Department of Social Services.
Once the case has been initiated, the court will order an alleged father to submit to DNA testing if there is any disagreement from any party regarding whether or not he is the actual father. Some common questions are:
- Who pays for the DNA test? Depending upon the circumstances of the case, the court may order the mother or the father to pay for the test. If neither party can afford the test, the fee may be waived.
- Where is DNA tested? DNA will be tested at a laboratory, and the results will be sent directly to the court to avoid any tampering of evidence.
- How much of a DNA match is required to establish paternity? In order for a court to find that the man in question is indeed a child’s father and therefore issue a court order for the establishment of paternity, the DNA test must show that the man is 98 percent likely (or more) to be the child’s father.
- What if parties disagree with the results of a paternity test? If either party does not believe the results of a paternity test to be accurate, a party may request a re-test. Typically, the case will then be postponed to a later date, where both parties will then present arguments to prove their side (i.e. the petitioner must present evidence to prove paternity).
What Happens Next?
If a DNA test shows that a man is indeed a child’s father, the court will make a determination that the man is the child’s biological father and establish paternity. From there, the father will have the option of seeking custody or visitation with the child.
At the Bombardo Law Office, P.C., our New York paternity attorneys understand how sensitive paternity cases can be. To learn more about your options and rights during a paternity case, call our law offices today and schedule your initial consultation.