DNA testing at home and DNA testing at labs and centers are on the rise in the United States in recent years. Just last year, our Center alone performed nearly 500,000 DNA tests and fielded over 600,000 calls.
That’s a high volume, and much of our work is involved in paternity DNA tests. If you’re considering DNA testing, take a little time to learn more about it.
How Can DNA Tests be Used?
They’re actually used for a number of reasons. Let’s start with the most obvious one first:
As Legal Evidence for Child Support
While you can collect the father’s DNA and test it without his knowledge, those results are not admissible in court. The father must sign a “Chain of Custody” form that authorizes the test for it to be legally valid, and the testing lab also has to follow specific procedures. He can appeal, but the court can force him to take the test. If he takes the test after signing the form, you have legally recognized evidence he is or is not the father of your child.
To Establish Parental Rights
Establishing paternity is the first of many steps in determining parental rights. Courts take this factor into considering when making a decision. They also look at other factors, such as:
- Which parent the child has a stronger emotional bond with
- Who has primarily been providing for the child’s physical and emotional needs
- The physical and mental health of each parent
- The current quality of the child’s education
- How much of an impact the child experiences if his current situation changes
To Prove Inheritance and Insurance Claims
Courts very often examine family relationships (including biological relationships) when they determine how someone’s estate should be divided. Insurance companies also require concrete proof if you would like a child added to the father’s insurance policy. This can happen if the alleged father’s name did not get placed on the child’s birth certification. In this situation, DNA is the only way to prove paternity, and insurance companies accept this as proof.
What Benefits Does DNA Paternity Testing Offer?
The above processes are all good and necessary outcomes of DNA paternity testing. You can experience a number of personal benefits as a result of DNA testing:
Peace of Mind
DNA paternity tests are more than 99% accurate, and their results are highly reliable. This determining factor allows you to be certain about the true paternity of the child.
Accurate Medical History for Your Child
If you know the true father of your child, you also have some indication of the child’s medical history. If the father and his family have a history of a serious medical condition, you can take the appropriate action to, if possible, prevent it from occurring with your child.
Build Emotional Bonds
It’s easier for fathers to care for and love a child if they know it’s biologically theirs. That doesn’t mean a father wouldn’t care for a child if he knew it wasn’t his. It gets easier because he knows some part of him is in that child.
Get Financial Support
Courts place a high value on legally performed paternity tests. Once you have a positive test, it’s much easier to get child support from the father and social security benefits, according to the American Pregnancy Association. You do not have to worry about financially caring for your child on your own. The same is true, if the father gains custody.
The Father Relationship
Fathers love their children. And if you’re not sure who the true father is, you will know after a paternity test. After the identity of the true father is confirmed, he has a legal right to maintain a relationship with his child (thought that can be ended if he is thought unsafe).
Your Child Knows Their True Identity
Do you know someone who got adopted and never knew their true parents? They may have moved on, but some part of them always wonders about their biological roots. When your child knows who they truly are, they accept themselves and do not have to struggle with this question for the rest of their lives.
Paternity testing is very useful, and has a number of benefits for the mother, the father, child, and extended family members. The important point: make sure you follow proper legal processes if you want to establish paternity legally.