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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

DNA testing in child custody matters

When figuring out child custody matters, some Tennessee residents may be required to undergo DNA testing if questions about parentage exist. With very high accuracy rates, DNA testing can be used to secure child support from a father. A man who does not think he is a child's father could also use testing to relieve his support obligations.

When parents are not married, a child's legal father and biological father might be different. A father not wed to the mother of his child might not be on a birth certificate and could classify as an alleged father. If a father acknowledges paternity or paternity has been determined, then he may become the legal father of a child. Legal parentage means that one may need to make child support payments. A legal parent could also receive custody or visitation rights.

DNA testing might not be needed in all cases. Both parents might agree about paternity and sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity form. If testing is required, buccal swabs are typically used. With this process, a swab gathers cells from the inside of one's mouth. This is a painless, reliable alternative to blood testing.

Home kits and lab tests are usually available, and lab testing is appropriate when one needs an official answer about parentage. Labs typically review and double-check results to ensure they are correct and follow a chain of custody procedure. When certified facilities like hospitals and health departments use these procedures, the results are trusted by government agencies and courts.

Many factors determine the amount of child support one might pay. The amount of time a child spends with the noncustodial parent, the income of both parties and the needs of the child are a few considerations when calculating a child support amount. For legal help dealing with such situations, one may retain a lawyer.

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