Child Support and DNA Testing

You’ve been divorced and ordered by the court to make child support payments. The trouble is, your wife cheated on you and you always wondered if the child were yours. The payments have put you in a bind and you are frustrated by the injustice of supporting another man’s child. What can you do?

Call upon science. Get DNA testing

Every crime investigating cop show on TV has some type of DNA testing to determine the identity of the “person of interest.” Hairs, fingernail clippings, blood, mouth swabs, all can be used to find the unique identifying fingerprint that unmistakably marks a person’s identity. That DNA is even passed on to the next generation, allowing laboratory specialists to prove (or disprove) the paternity of a child.

So how do you go about enlisting the aid of this technology? You have to petition the court.

DNA testing has become a regular part of the court process in many cases. For forensic collection in murder cases as well as for paternity testing, DNA carries a lot of weight before the eyes of the court system. If you want to have a person tested (for instance, if you have a child and the alleged father refuses to provide child support without proof) then you can petition the court for a DNA test.

Before you embark on this DNA journey, though, it is essential to have an attorney in your court (no pun intended) to help ensure everything is procedurally sound. For instance, a subpoena may have to be issued to force the alleged father to provide a DNA sample for testing to determine who owes the child support payments.

First, you need to visit the county courthouse and ask the clerk where you should go for a DNA test petition. Some courthouses will have all of them in one place, others may separate the petitions by criminal and civil cases. Once you’ve gotten the necessary petition forms, fill them out completely. You’ll need to provide all of your personal information as well as the information about the situation that you’re involved in and explain why a DNA test should be ordered by the court. Your attorney can help you with the verbiage. There will be an administrative charge for filing the petition, and later the court will contact you when court dates are available and give you a deadline to take your DNA test. Most of the time, a simple swab of the inside of your cheek is sufficient.

Obtaining a DNA test from the other man is a very difficult situation – if not impossible. The best plan of action is to obtain your own DNA and the DNA of the child and see if there is a match. The court may still subpoena the other man to provide a DNA sample through a DNA test to require him to make child support payments.

There’s a old saying: “Be careful what you ask for.” This applies when enlisting DNA testing to prove paternity.

I found this comment from an anonymous author on a child support message board while researching this post. It could serve as a cautionary tale:

“The very first question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you are ready to have a child you have bonded with ripped from you,” he writes. “We are talking about you and this child have been together as father and son and have not known any different. It is the bond of love that matters and not the DNA…”

As the father states, you can get out of child support payments, but you might lose your child in the process. Certainly food for thought.


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