DNA testing is a common method used to resolve cases in Florida involving paternity issues, especially when child support is being sought by a custodial parent. Oftentimes, results can mean the difference between being required to make support payments and being relieved of the obligation to do so. While no DNA test is completely accurate at 100 percent, the outcome of these tests comes very close at 99.9 percent certainty when performed at a facility that’s AABB (American Association of Blood Banks) accredited or approved.
If parents are unmarried when a child is conceived, paternity is not automatically assumed. In fact, the name of a possible or “alleged” father does not have to be included on a birth certificate until a legal determination has been made. Once a DNA test proves paternity, a court usually requires the father to pay child support if they are not the parent with primary or full custody. In some instances, DNA results are used to make a case for visitation rights or even custody.
Because of the certainty of DNA results, it’s not unusual for a father to step up and become involved in their child’s life once they are confirmed as the biological dad. As for how paternity can be established, a suspected father may voluntarily go to a lab for DNA testing. Other times, a state agency or judge will issue a paternity order to compel an alleged father to be tested. Some federal programs that provide aid to needy families also use DNA tests to positively ID non-custodial parents.
Cases involving paternity are often filed by a mother seeking child support payments. However, a lawyer can also help a father establish paternity if there is a desire to maintain or initiate a relationship with a child they believe is theirs. Another role an attorney can play in a child support case is to seek modifications to court orders and agreements if circumstances change.