How Does A Paternity Test Work?
There are many reasons that establishing clear paternity is important, both for the child and his or her biological parents. In addition to clearly defining a familial connection, answers from a professional paternity test are useful in a variety of legal, medical, and personal situations.
What is Paternity?
The word “paternity” is another word for “fatherhood,” essentially describing the genetic connection and relationship a father has with his child. Every child has a biological father, but not necessarily a “legal” one – that’s because the legal process of establishing paternity can require a few specific steps.
In the state of Texas and across the U.S., legal paternity is connected to a father’s rights and responsibilities, including child custody, child support, health insurance, and visitation. Unless legal paternity is established, neither the father or mother can move forward with legal proceedings related to the child’s upbringing or financial support. There are a few different ways that paternity is established in the state of Texas, depending on the specific situation into which the child is born.
How to Establish Legal Paternity in Texas
In Texas, paternity is automatically established if a child’s parents are married at the time of birth. In this type of situation, the mother’s husband is assumed to be the legal father and named on the child’s birth certificate.
However, if the mother and father are unmarried at the child’s time of birth, the state of Texas requires that paternity be established before the birth certificate can be completed. In these cases, there are typically two routes available: voluntary and involuntary.
- A Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity can be signed by both mother and father, usually completed at the hospital when the child is born. This form can also be completed after the child’s birth and sent to the Vital Statistics Unit.
- Texas family court can issue an “order adjudicating parentage,” referred to as involuntary because it typically involves one or both parents disputing paternity. Court proceedings may take a few different directions depending on the parties involved, but the court may require DNA testing if either the father or mother is uncertain of (or denies) paternity. If the DNA test confirms paternity, the court will officially declare the legal father and issue orders of child support, custody, and/or visitation as appropriate.
How Does a Paternity Test Work?
A paternity test usually requires a simple cheek swab to collect a DNA sample from both the child and assumed father. The lab then compares the two samples to either confirm or refute a genetic connection, establishing paternity if a clear relation is demonstrated.
Legal DNA Tests Vs. Non-Legal Tests
It’s important to understand that a laboratory must be properly accredited in order for lab results to be acceptable in Texas state court. This means that at-home lab kits or mail-in options are not legally acceptable, due to potential user error, contamination, or tampering.
Legally-Admissible Paternity Tests in Austin, Texas
Are you looking for legal paternity tests in Texas? ARCpoint Labs of Austin North makes the paternity testing process quick and easy, giving you the legally-admissible results you need. Our professional technicians follow all Texas state requirements and provide the ultimate in discretion, confidentiality, and accuracy.
For more information about our paternity testing options and assistance choosing the test that’s right for you, contact ARCpoint Labs of Austin North today.
Image Credit: Pompak Khunatom