Why Paternity Tests are Important for Child Custody
Paternity tests establish biological fatherhood, which can have some significant bearing on child custody and support cases.
In such a test, DNA is collected from the possible father and the child from cheek swabs or blood samples. The DNA gets spliced to determine if the two share chromosomes. These tests have a 99.9 percent accuracy rate.
Paternity tests for child custody purposes
Paternity tests prove fatherhood, which also allows you to enforce your parental rights, or, if you’re the mother, to enforce that father’s parental responsibilities.
A father has the right to visit and help raise the child, even if not the custodial guardian of that child. Fathers also have the responsibility to help provide for that child financially. The father’s custody rights are the same as the mother’s—the exact terms of your custody arrangement will vary based on the circumstances of your case.
Paternity tests are important for proving fatherhood in situation where the mother might not be sure of the father, or if the father she names wishes to have proof of parenthood.
Once proof of paternity is established, then the parties (assuming they are not together) can go on to create a parenting plan and custody agreement that covers issues such as full descriptions of each parent’s legal and physical custody, a detailed visitation schedule, a list for parenting stipulations (such as who will be responsible for transportation, certain costs, etc.) and instructions for how future modifications of those plans will work.
If you file a petition for paternity, it is filed in the Family Court. Once paternity is established, the matter is converted to a child support proceeding. You will receive support retroactive to the date the paternity petition was filed.
For more information about paternity tests and how they are used in custody cases, contact an experienced divorce lawyer at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.