Paternity Issues in Divorce

Paternity Issues
Paternity testing is a major US industry. Between 1970 and 1996, the number of divorced persons has more than quadrupled, from 4.3 million to 18.3 million according to a 1998 report by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau. Hundreds of thousands of paternity tests are performed each year.

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What you need to know:
  • Overview of Paternity Testing: Get an overview of DNA paternity testing procedures.
  • What is DNA Testing?: Here is where you will find out what DNA testing is and is not.
  • What Makes A DNA Test Court Admissible?: The difference between results being court admissible or not court admissible is based upon the properly documented chain of custody. Home DNA test kits are normally not court admissible because the DNA samples cannot be verified.
  • Choosing a Paternity Testing Company: Here are a few simple guidelines to remember before you establish a relationship with DNA testing company.
  • What Happens at the Sample Collection?: For court admissible testing, there is a nationwide network of individuals licensed and experienced in the collection of legal DNA samples.
  • Prenatal Paternity Testing: Prenatal testing is done before birth. Here is where you can find out more information on prenatal testing.
  • Deceased Alleged Father: Father deceased, need Social Security benefits? Here is where you can find more information on testing where the father has passed away.
  • Kinship Analysis - Missing Alleged Father: If samples from the deceased are not readily available then the alleged father's genotype can be reconstructed by testing close relatives.
  • Grandparent Study: This is where you find out more information about DNA testing on grandparents.
  • Sibling Study (Sibship): Brothers and sisters can also be tested. Find out more here.
  • Criminal Paternity: The most common and most disturbing criminal paternity cases are those involving the sexual abuse of a child.
  • The Paternity Test Results: Results are presented by a signed and notarized laboratory report. The results will either state that the alleged father is excluded from being the father or it will provide a probability of paternity relationship as a percentage equal to or greater than 99%. See this section for a sample inclusion (is the father) and exclusion (is not the father) report.
  • Paternity State Case Law: A collection of relevant paternity cases state-by-state with short analysis. These paternity cases have been selected because they represent landmark court decisions.


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PUTATIVE FATHER -- In many states, the husband of a married woman who bears a child is automatically presumed to be the father. This presumption of paternity makes him the putative father. Some jurisdictions take the presumption of paternity one step further by not allowing a man to disprove biological paternity through DNA. As a result men who are not the biological fathers of their wife’s children are forced to pay child support for children they have not biologically fathered.

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