When is a Legal Paternity Test Necessary?
According to Texas state laws, paternity is considered “legal fatherhood,” bringing with it a whole host of rights and responsibilities. While each family is unique, establishing court-recognized paternity is generally highly beneficial to both the child and parents. Depending on your specific situation, you may need to take certain steps, including a legal DNA test, to establish paternity for legal purposes.
Texas Paternity Laws
In the case of a child born to two legally married parents, paternity is automatically established, and the father’s name is included on the birth certificate. However, if the parents are not married, Texas law states that paternity must be established before the child’s legal father is declared. Establishing paternity in Texas can be accomplished in one of two ways:
- Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity: If both the mother and father agree on paternity, then a legal form can be completed at birth to establish paternity.
- Involuntary (Court-Ordered): In cases in which the mother and supposed father either do not agree on paternity or are unsure whether there is a biological relation, court proceedings are the next step. During the paternity process, the court may order a legal paternity test to confirm or dismiss the father-child relationship if needed.
Do I Need a Court-Ordered Paternity Test?
Court-ordered paternity tests are very common for families who have enlisted the court in their paternity case. If you are an unmarried parent who has not (or cannot) complete a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, you will most likely need to undergo legal paternity testing to move forward with court proceedings. If you are pursuing custody, child support, or other legal responsibilities, you can also expect court-ordered testing.
How Does a Paternity Test Work?
Paternity testing uses the scientific analysis of DNA to establish biological relationships between a father and child. You can complete the testing process either before (prenatal DNA testing) or after your child’s birth. Regardless of the type of paternity test you choose, the process is essentially the same:
- A DNA sample will be collected from both the father and child (usually using a cheek swab).
- The lab establishes DNA profiles based on each sample, comparing each to determine any genetic links.
- A results report will be generated based on the analysis, ready for you and/or the court to review in about three to five business days (depending on the lab).
In the case of court-ordering paternity testing, an Acknowledgement of Paternity will be completed after the father has been established.
Legal vs. Non-Legal Paternity Testing
It’s important to understand that mail-in DNA kits and at-home testing, while convenient, are not acceptable for legal purposes. If you are required by the court to undergo DNA testing, a legal paternity test is generally necessary. Only certain labs meet the required standards for certification, so be sure to choose wisely.
Legal Paternity Testing in Austin, TX
If you’re searching for legal paternity tests in Austin, ARCpoint Labs of Austin North is here to help. Our labs have provided reliable, rapid testing for families across the U.S., adhering to all requirements for court-ordered DNA testing. Using our extensive expertise and industry-leading testing standards, ARCpoint Labs ensures that each patient receives the highest quality care. You can be confident that your test will be administered with the utmost professionalism, with results that are accurately and quickly processed. Rather than risk delaying your legal proceedings with non-legal paternity testing or unreliable labs, put your trust in ARCpoint Labs.
For more information about our legal paternity tests and other testing solutions, contact ARCpoint Labs of Austin North today.
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