A DNA paternity test is the most reliable method for determining whether or not a man is the biological father of a child, and this type of testing is trusted by courts from coast to coast and around the world. But what happens if a mother or a possible father refuses to do a paternity test? Is this happening to you? Here are some possible solutions.
NOTE: This article is not intended to be legal advice—it is for general informational purposes only. For guidance regarding your particular situation, please contact a social worker or family-law attorney in your area.
Talk it Through without Involving Lawyers: Yes, You Can!
If at all possible, try to resolve the issue without involving an attorney. Lawyers are usually expensive, and hard feelings are more likely to develop when you hash your differences out in court where both parties may feel the need to prove—in public—why they are “right.”
Start the conversation: Oftentimes, a couple who are no longer together have a hard time just holding a civil conversation, but—since there’s a child involved—it’s essential to talk honestly about a paternity test. If the other party hasn’t done so already, be the one to start the conversation.
Get their point of view: Even if you don’t agree with why they don’t want a paternity test, it’s essential to have them clarify their stand, both for their benefit and yours. That way, there are no misunderstandings or confusion. It also helps because you can tailor your argument so that it addresses their concerns. They might be concerned about having to pay child support (or losing child support)
State your own case clearly: If you’re a mother who suspects your child may have a different father, explain that your child has a right to know their genetic history, both for heritage and medical reasons. If you believe you are the biological father, lay out your reasons why you would be an asset in the child’s life, financially and emotionally.
Know the law and use it to your advantage: Can someone refuse a paternity test? In most states, an action for determining paternity is considered to be a civil lawsuit, and refusing a paternity test ordered by the court is definitely not a good decision. In some cases, the refuser may face fines or even criminal charges. In other cases, a judge may enter a default (automatic) judgment against the person refusing the test. When you understand what can happen if the matter goes to court, you can use that knowledge to strengthen your argument for settling paternity out of court.
Discuss getting a legal paternity test: A legal paternity test can be ordered directly through a DNA laboratory without having to go through court, yet—unlike a home paternity test—the results are court-admissible. If the other party doesn’t want to go to court, when this option for testing is used, they may not have to.
Keep the conversation civil: Do your best to stay calm and composed, even if the other person isn’t able to do the same. Shouting matches never accomplish anything positive for either party, and losing your temper can actually invalidate your argument in the other person’s eyes. For the sake of your child, keep your cool.
If All Else Fails: Seek a Court-Ordered Paternity Test
You tried really hard, but weren’t able to convince the other person to do the paternity test. Now what? Unfortunately, it’s most likely time to bring in the social worker or family-law attorney who can help you bring a suit to court. Paternity law varies from state to state, so be sure you choose someone who is experienced in this area. If the court determines you have a legitimate case, they’ll order the test.
Wrapping It Up
Being denied a paternity test is a bump in the road, but it’s by no means the end of the highway. Of course, it’s best if you can resolve the issue between you without having to go to court, but you do have legal options if your best efforts to convince the other party aren’t successful.
Call us at 800-929-0847: We’re here to help.
Do you have questions or comments about being denied a paternity test? Share in the comments and we’ll answer.