How to define paternity of a child is vital for various reasons, among them the fact that it helps to create certain legal rights and responsibilities After all, paternity governs who is responsible for supporting the child, who may have an involvement in the child’s upbringing.
Once paternity is legally recognized, the mother and child are also granted access to the father’s medical history and genetic information in order to learn of any medical issues the child may inherit. A case to challenge paternity isn't always something that's given by the mother. Sometimes a court or medical professional names the wrong person as the father of a child, or lab tests can provide incorrect results. In those cases, either parent may file a suit challenging paternity.
Reasons for Challenging Paternity
Many paternity proceedings depend on on medical evidence to show who is the father . Usually these tests are correct, but sometimes they produce incorrect results. The following are grounds for challenging a previous finding of paternity:
Tainted lab results (e.g., evidence of prior errors in lab results and routinely substandard work);
Fraudulent lab results (e.g., evidence that the opposing party sent someone else to take the lab test on his behalf);
Proof of infertility or sterility;
Proof that test results were fiddled with; and
Proof of the mother’s unfaithfulness in marriage -- when a child is born into an opposite-sex marriage, the husband is supposed to be the father unless proven otherwise.
State laws vary from state to state as to the grounds they accept to challenge a paternity test.
How to Challenge Paternity
A suit to challenge paternity is very similar to one starting paternity. Each state has a somewhat different way of starting a lawsuit, so check with a local family law attorney or with your state’s family law courts to find out precisely how to begin.
Some states will take into attention how many years have passed with a child taking in consideration a certain man is their father, and make negating paternity is more difficult because of the emotional and psychological effects it may have on the child.
Usually, the first step is to file a complaint with the court. Once the complaint is filed, the court may order one or more DNA tests for the father and the child, and seek evidence from other sources to determine the actual father. This other evidence may include medical reports questioning paternity or if the true father decides to voluntarily acknowledge paternity. Blood tests may also be used to help determine whether the alleged father is biologically related to the child, but blood tests alone don't determine who the father actually is. However, DNA tests are the most accurate way of finding paternity.
At the end of the process, the court will issue an order naming the father of the child. The parents must then meet to decide child support and custody arrangements.
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