Establishing paternity isn’t as difficult as it used to be -– in fact, paternity can be determined with almost 100% accuracy. The key to this legal breakthrough is as simple as your DNA.
With the exception of identical twins, DNA is as unique as your fingerprint. The acronym for Deoxyribonucleic Acid, DNA refers to your genetic makeup such as your eye color, hair color, skin tone, height, etc.
When a child is born, the baby will get half of his DNA from Mom and the other half from Dad. By comparing the baby’s DNA to that of its biological mother, any genes inherited from Mom can be eliminated. What remains then are the genes inherited from Dad.
Comparing the DNA probes of the child and the alleged father can quickly confirm or deny paternity. If two or more probes do not match, the alleged father is ruled out. A comparison of probes between the three parties (mother, father and child) can establish paternity with 99.9% accuracy.
The DNA sample can be obtained in one of two ways: either through a blood sample or through a procedure known as the Buccal Swab. In this procedure, a swab is rubbed on the inside of the cheek to obtain tissue and saliva. This sample is enough to conduct an accurate DNA test.
As an alternative, a simple blood sample can be provided to help narrow the possibility of fatherhood. Using this method, white blood cell antigens are examined and compared to identify or exclude potential fathers. It should be noted that a blood test is not nearly as accurate as DNA testing and is rarely used as the sole means of proving paternity.
It can however, positively rule out potential fathers by comparing blood types of the parties involved. A mother and father who both have Type A blood for example, cannot have a child with Type O, B or AB blood because the antigens are not present.
In order to legally challenge paternity, a civil suit must be filed in Family Court. If the judge orders a DNA test, the parties will need to pay a few hundred dollars to have the test performed and interpreted by a court-approved facility.
In the event that paternity is confirmed, the father will then likely be ordered to pay child support and issues regarding custody and/or visitation will be addressed. If the father does not wish to maintain his parental rights, he can terminate them through the court.