DNA paternity testing is relied on by courts from coast to coast to help determine whether or not child support should be ordered. The reason is quite simply because the results are unbiased, scientifically-based, and extremely accurate. In most cases, the results from a test show either a 99% or higher probability of paternity or 0%. It’s a cut and dried process, which is what makes it so useful for settling disputes.
If you want to find out how to use paternity testing to obtain child support or if it’s even needed for your particular situation, here are the very basics of what you need to know. Keep in mind that states have different laws and the following situations don’t cover every possible scenario.
NOTE: This article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Paternity laws vary from state to state. For specific legal advice, please contact an attorney where you live.
If You Want to Get Child Support
If parents were married at the time the child was conceived and/or born, or is born within 300 days following a divorce: In most states, the husband is automatically considered to be the legal father of the child. In a divorce case, a DNA test wouldn’t be necessary since paternity of the child is already recognized under the law.
Bottom line: No paternity test is required.
If parents were unmarried at the time the child was born and the father acknowledges paternity: At the time the child is born, the father may choose to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. This indicates that the man is legally saying he is the father of the child. If both the mother and the father sign this Acknowledgment, then the man’s name goes on the birth certificate. As the legal father, he is responsible for paying if the couple splits up and a judgment for child support is ordered.
Bottom Line: No paternity test is required.
If parents were unmarried at the time the child was born and the father does not acknowledge paternity: In most states, if unmarried parents split up and the man hasn’t signed a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity or implied a paternal relationship through his actions, chances are good that the state will order a DNA paternity test to help establish or disprove paternity. If a man refuses to take the test, the court has the option to rule in favor of his providing child support and will act in what it considers to be the best interests of the child.
Bottom Line: A paternity test is required.
Know the Requirements for the Paternity Test
Unfortunately, a mistake many couples make is assuming that results from an at-home paternity test can be used as proof (or disproof) of paternity in a child-support case, and they are disappointed when they can’t use their results for legal purposes. Although an at-home test is terrific for informational or peace-of-mind purposes, its results are not court-admissible. This is simply because when parents and the child test at home, the court has no way of knowing if the samples submitted for testing were really theirs and not someone else’s.
In order for results to be court-admissible, a legal paternity test must be performed. With this type of test, DNA collection and submission is supervised by a third-party, disinterested witness.
Learn More about a Legal Paternity Test >
Keep in mind that—no matter what state you live in or what its particular laws dictate—a court will almost always rule in favor of what’s best for the child. For legal guidance on how to petition the court for child support where you live, be sure to consult with a family-law attorney in your area.
Call us at 800-929-0847: We’re here to help.
Do you have questions or comments about paternity testing for child support? Share in the comments and we’ll answer.
How long does it take for paternity results to come back if you went through child support services in Georgia?
Hi, Valencia. Because I don’t know all the circumstances surrounding your case (how many people are involved in the test and whether all samples have been submitted, etc.) that is a question for your case worker or case manager!
If I am on child support without a DNA test ..what do I need to do to get a dna to proof the child not mines…and do the stop payment from my check in intill the the dna proofs the child not mines
Hi, Elanden. In most states, there is a time limit for when men can contest paternity. I suggest you contact a family-law attorney right away to get this answer.
I have been paying child support for almost 10 years now.from the get go.i had doubt.the child was mine.i made all the stupidest mistakes on the book because I am naive and a good hearted man.she tricked me .long story short. Is there any possibility I can order or petition a dna to any court.because of my doubts. Please help.
Hi, Jean. Your question is best answered by a family-law attorney where you live, since laws vary. Generally, you only have a 2-year window after the child is born to contest paternity claims.
I want to conduct a perternity test but my child is absent what should I do
Hi, Joseph. Without the child, a paternity test cannot be conducted.
My husband and i have been together 17 years wehave a son who is fixing to turn 5 my husband up and left us for another woman and now says he is unsure my son is his and says he will not pay child support he is on the birth certificate i dont want to put my son through all this simply because of a woman do i need a dna test or will the court order one or just tell him since he acknowledged paternity tough luck any information is appreciated we are in louisana
Hi, Karie. Chances are good he’ll get a “tough luck” response for the court since the child was born during your marriage and he’s legally responsible for him. Good luck!
Can I check the results of my DNA test online or do I have to wait for a letter?
Hi, Faith. An email will be sent to the address on file once the report is ready, and you can access those results in your secure online account.
I had a one night stand . The woman told me she was pregnant but that she wanted to have an abortion . Said she wanted nothing to do with me or didn’t need anything from me. I’m now married and she contacted me after she had the baby and did not put my name on the birth certificate. She now wants me to take a test saying she doesnt know if its mine or someone else’s . Do I have to take the test ?
Hi, Jonathan. Really, it’s up to you. You are not compelled to take a test unless she goes through the court. Even then, you have a choice. But for a court-ordered test it’s best to comply since, if you refuse, they may name you the legal father anyway if they deem it’s in the best interest of the child. If you suspect the child might be yours and you want to be involved in the child’s life, in most states you have two (2) years to contest paternity. So if you don’t test and she puts someone else on the birth certificate, after two years you might be hard-pressed to make a case in the courts for doing a test. As always, we recommend that you seek out the help of a good family-law attorney in your area if you need legal advice.
I think the child is mine but the MOTHER has someone else thinking he’s the father how can I get a paternity test to prove the child is mine
Hi, Shan. If the mother won’t agree to testing with you, you would need to consult a family-law attorney to see if they think you have a good chance of the court compelling her to test.
Thanks for mentioning how a paternity test will be able to produce 99% accurate results to help you settle with disputes. My niece’s boyfriend refuses to acknowledge the child and has been really aggressive about not providing child support. I will be happy to advise her to look into a paternity test facility so that she can have an easier time raising her child once she gets the support she needs.
Hello I signed and acknowledge that my son is mines at birth but getting older he really doesn’t look anything like me his mother and I split up and before I pay child support I would like to know if he’s mines. Do I go through the courts or bring him with me here for me to find out and can this be used for court if he turns out not to be mines?
Hi, Joshua. If you have legal authority to act on behalf of your minor child, then you can definitely do a paternity test with him. The only way results can be used in court is if you arrange for a legal, witnessed test. We can do that for you, of course. Just call 800-681-7162. This type of test does not have to be arranged through the courts, FYI.
Just took dna test yesterday through child support how long does it take to get results back
Hi, Simon. That depends entirely on the court’s timeline and you’ll need to ask whomever is your contact for the case.
Am I able to call child support agency and ask what paternity results are before getting them in the mail?
Hi, Sidney. How your results are delivered to you is entirely up to the discretion of the child-support agency, so you’ll need to ask them what their process is.
How can you make a ddc dna account even though I went to Cumberland county domestics to get dna done?
Hi, Victoria. If your test was performed through a county government agency, you must get results through them and not through us directly.