Basics of Paternity Testing

Paternity testing is a scientific approach used to establish a biological relationship between an alleged father and a child. This method is frequently sought for legal, medical, and personal reasons. Understanding the basics of paternity testing can help individuals make informed decisions regarding the process and its implications.

What is Paternity Testing?

Paternity testing is the use of genetic fingerprinting to determine if a man is the biological father of a child. This DNA-based test is highly accurate and can confirm or dispel doubts about paternity with a degree of certainty often exceeding 99%.

Why is Paternity Testing Done?

Paternity can affect child custody, child support, inheritance, and adoption cases. It's also sought for peace of mind and to establish a medical history for the child. In some cases, paternity testing helps in determining whether a child will inherit genetically linked diseases.

How is Paternity Testing Conducted?

There are two main types of paternity tests: prenatal and postnatal testing.

Prenatal Paternity Testing:

  • Performed before the birth of a child.
  • It can be done using Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) or Amniocentesis, which are invasive and carry a risk to the fetus.
  • A non-invasive method involves analyzing fetal DNA found in the mother’s blood.

Postnatal Paternity Testing:

  • Conducted after the baby is born.
  • The most common method is a cheek swab sample from the father and the child.
  • Blood samples can also be used.

How Do Paternity Tests Work?

  1. Sample collection: DNA is collected from the potential father and the child. The mother's DNA may also be collected to strengthen the results.
  2. DNA Analysis: In a laboratory, technicians analyze specific regions of DNA known as Short Tandem Repeats (STRs). STRs are highly variable and inherited from both parents, making them ideal for paternity testing.
  3. Comparison: The child's DNA profile is compared with the alleged father's. The probability of paternity is calculated if the man possesses the necessary genetic markers to be the biological father.

Are There Legal Implications?

Results from a paternity test can have significant legal consequences. Legal paternity tests require a chain of custody documentation and an unbiased third party to conduct the sample collection to be admissible in court.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Reputable testing centers maintain strict confidentiality with paternity test results. Parties involved should be aware of privacy policies before proceeding.

What About Home Paternity Tests?

While home paternity tests can provide personal answers, they might not be upheld in legal matters due to the lack of chain of custody verification.

Parsippany Family Law Attorney

If you're in Parsippany, NJ, and find yourself in need of guidance or legal assistance following a paternity test, Simon, O'Brien, & Knapp are here to help. Our experienced family law attorneys understand the sensitive nature of paternity issues and can provide the support and legal expertise you need. Whether you're establishing paternity, seeking custody, or dealing with child support matters, we're committed to helping you navigate the legal landscape. Contact us today at (973) 604-2224 to discuss your situation and learn how we can assist you in taking the next steps.