Determining Paternity

While the mother of a child is determined with ease, the identity of the child's father may need to be determined through DNA testing. Cases involved in determining the paternity of a child are handled under paternity law. This area of law is used in a variety of contexts.

For the best interest of a child, it is important to establish paternity of both parents.

Paternity testing is fairly easy these days thanks to the advances in DNA testing procedures. Usually a swab of DNA is collected from the child and the parents or assumed parents. The DNA is evaluated for a match, and the results will tell whether a person is the parent of the child or not. DNA testing requires samples to be sent to a lab, so results are not instantaneous.

It is most common for paternity testing to be done when the paternity is contested. A person may believe he is not the father of a child and request a test. In some cases, it is simply just not known and parents want to be sure of paternity. Mothers may also want testing done if a supposed father is trying to get rights to the child or trying to avoid child support responsibility.

Sometimes the order to determine paternity is given by a court. This happens typically in cases involving custody, child support, and adoption, which are usually handled by a family law attorney. It is critical to know, without a doubt, who the child's father is when granting custody, awarding child support, or allowing an adoption to go through.

Determining paternity is a civil matter. When done by court order, it is handled by the family courts. It does not involve law enforcement in most cases and is usually a simple and easy process. Knowing paternity gives everyone involved a peace of mind about who the real father of the child is and provides a better life for them. In Texas, when a child is born to unwed parents, paternity of the father must be established before his name can appear on the child’s birth certificate. An El Paso family law attorney can assist in these matters if the father is being contested by the mother.

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