When the paternity of a child is in question, the most reliable way to get definitive answers is with a DNA paternity test. But what if you’re not listed as the father on the birth certificate and the mother won’t give permission for the child to be tested? As a mother, what if you suspect a man is the biological father of your child but he refuses to test? All highly-accredited DNA labs require consent from all participants, so doing a ‘secret paternity test’ is committing fraud. What can you do? Here are some possibilities.
Talk It Through: Negotiation without Lawyers
Lawyers are expensive. If you can possibly work things through and come to an agreement without involving the courts, you both stand to save a great deal of money, time, and heartache. Being able to work things out yourselves keeps your relationship as positive as possible, which benefits everyone involved.
Approach the topic calmly: Even if you aren’t together anymore and things didn’t end well, ask to talk, and then be as even-keeled and friendly as you can during the discussion. Losing your temper will just make your former partner dig in their heels further-promise.
Get their side of the story: Find out why she doesn’t want to agree to testing or want to sign permission for the child. Find out why he doesn’t want to test. If you determine the reasons behind the refusal, you can figure out how to best convince them it’s the right thing to do.
Give your own reasons for wanting the test: If you believe you are the biological father, explain how a relationship with the child will be beneficial to them financially, legally, and-most importantly-emotionally. This same argument holds true if you are the mother wanting to convince the possible father to agree to a paternity test. If there is a possibility the child is not your former partner’s, it’s important to point out that the child has a right to form a relationship with their biological father and to know their family heritage and medical history.
Talk about what happens after the test: Often, a former partner is reluctant to agree to a paternity test due to the possible consequences of the results. Will they lose child support? Will there have to be changes made to custody arrangements? Honestly talk through what you both see happening once you have results-whether the test shows a biological relationship or not. This takes a major elephant out of the room.
Remember to stay calm during all discussions. The future of a child is at stake, and they are relying on the grown-ups in their life to make civil decisions on their behalf.
A Court-Ordered Paternity Test
Unfortunately, sometimes talks can break down no matter how hard you try. A parent can refuse initially to take a paternity test, but a court can (and often does) compel them to take one anyway. You should first try doing everything you can to prevent having to go to court, because the process often creates long-lasting tension between a former couple. Remember, if results show the possible father is the biological father, you’ll be linked for life.
Find out what your parental rights are where you live: Laws definitely vary from state to state, so it’s important to get legal help in determining what your options are and how to proceed.
Court-ordered testing: If the court determines that a test is required, it will be a legal paternity test. The only difference between a legal test and a peace-of-mind test you do at home is that the identification of participants, DNA sample collections, and sample mailing are all witnessed by a third-party impartial person. This ensures that everyone is who they say they are for the test, and that no fraud can occur. But the actual testing process at the lab and the paternity test report are exactly the same.
The Bottom Line
Being denied a paternity test is a stumbling block to determining a biological relationship, but it’s not the end of the road. Every child has a right to know who their father is, and if you and your former partner can’t work things out yourselves, the court is always available as a last recourse.
Important thing to remember: If you intend to use the outcome of a paternity test in court to establish custody or for child-support purposes, the court will not accept results from a peace-of-mind test performed at home. IDENTIGENE can schedule a legal paternity test where you live, but you must call us ahead of time to make these arrangements.
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