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Paternity FAQs


The following are some questions commonly asked about paternity testing:

Why get a paternity test?

While the main objective of a paternity test is to determine whether or not a man is the biological father of a child, there are usually reasons other than simply knowing one's paternity that prompt people to seek a paternity test. For example, a woman may ask the court to order a paternity test in an effort to secure child support payments. If the DNA test proves the man is the biological father of the child, he will be legally obligated to financially support that child. Likewise, a man who doesn't think he is the father may want to take a paternity test to get out of his duty to pay child support. If the test proves he's not the father, he will not be obligated to support the child. In addition, some men take a paternity test to obtain the evidence needed to gain child custody and/or visitation rights. If a man can prove he is the biological father, he will usually be able to get some kind of custody or visitation rights.

Does a paternity test have to be ordered by the court?

While people can seek a paternity test without court involvement, if there is a legal issue involved, such as child custody or child support, the court will usually only accept a test that was ordered by the court and conducted at a testing or laboratory center approved by the court.

Can a paternity test still be conducted if the alleged father is dead or missing?

As long a sample of the man's hair, blood, or body tissue is available, it is still possible to conduct a paternity test even if the man is dead or missing. If these samples are not available, the man's parents or siblings can usually be tested.

What if the mother doesn't consent or won't participate in the paternity testing?

Some courts require the mother's consent and participation, but for those that don't, it's still possible to conduct a paternity test without the mother's participation. However, without mother it may require a more extensive analysis of the DNA to ensure an accurate result.

Can a paternity test be conducted before the child is born?

Yes, however the test must be done between the 10th and 24th week of the woman's pregnancy and only if the doctor says it won't harm the mother or the fetus. Once it's past the 24th week of pregnancy, DNA testing must wait until after the baby is born.

If you have any additional questions about establishing paternity or disestablishing paternity through DNA testing, please do not hesitate to contact Hutchinson Law today to speak with an experienced Jacksonville paternity lawyer. We have helped both men and women throughout the Northeast Florida area with their paternity matters, and would be happy to help you in any way we can.

To arrange a consultation to speak with a paternity attorney at our office, contact Hutchinson Law today by calling (904) 638-3134.