In many family law cases, there is a need to determine who is the father of the child. There are several ways to perform paternity testing, but not all of them are admissible in court as a way to legally establish paternity. If you are a mother who needs to establish paternity in order to seek child support, or if you are a father of a child and wish to prove paternity in order to establish your legal parental rights, it is important to understand what your options are.
1. Paternity Testing at Home
Many mail order labs have created paternity testing kits that can be completed at home. A DNA sample is retrieved from both the alleged father and the child by following the kit’s instructions to obtain a sterile sample, which is then mailed back to the lab. The process generally takes between four and six weeks to complete; however, the results cannot be used to legally prove the paternity of a child.
2. Discreet Testing
While most paternity testing options require a cheek swab in order to obtain the DNA of the alleged father and the child, some mothers do not wish to reveal to the alleged father that they are having testing done. Discreet testing can be performed without a cheek swab by using hair or a toothbrush. This will allow you to determine whether a certain individual is the father of a particular child or not; however, the results will not be accepted by a court of law.
3. In-Utero Paternity Testing
It is possible to obtain the DNA of a child while it is still in the womb through a medical procedure known as amniocentesis. A long, thin needle is inserted into the mother’s abdomen, guided by an ultrasound. The doctor will obtain a small sample of the fluid surrounding the baby and will compare the DNA contained within to DNA obtained from the alleged father. Since this type of paternity testing is performed in a hospital setting by a licensed medical professional, it is a viable way to establish paternity for legal purposes.
4. Legal Testing
An experienced family law attorney also can help you complete the paternity testing process. Since the DNA from both the alleged father and the child must be obtained by an unbiased third party in order to keep the chain of evidence from becoming compromised, an attorney is a logical choice. A lawyer can help you get legally valid paternity test results that you can use to pursue child support or visitation.
Mindi Lasley, P.A. is a compassionate family law attorney who is well-versed in the area of Florida paternity law. Contact Attorney Lasley today to set up a consultation to discuss your legal needs at (813) 873-9047.