Definition of Paternity Test

A paternity test is the test which is used to determine the biological father of a child. Paternity tests are generally required in cases where paternity is in question. For instance, if the court is determining who will pay child support, whether a child is available for adoption, or where the child should live they may request a paternity test.

More and more fathers are taking paternity tests to prove they are not the biological father of a child. State laws will vary but, in general there is a presumption that a woman’s husband is the biological father of a child born during the marriage.

For example, your husband is assumed to be the father of your child if you and your husband are married at the time of the child’s birth, the child is born within a specified time period following the divorce, you and your spouse entered into marriage and your husband acknowledged paternity either in writing or by his actions, or the you and your spouse marry and your spouse “acknowledges his paternity in writing at the local office of vital statistics, seeks to have his name added to the birth certificate as the child’s father, openly holds himself out as the child’s father or is ordered by the court to pay child support.”

Now what happens if paternity testing is done and the presumed father is not the biological father? In this case the court may order that child support be terminated, although there may be time limits and not all states will allow termination. Consider also, in most cases the mother will not be required to reimburse the presumed father for child support payments.

« Back to Glossary

Browse Divorce Terms Alphabetically

A |
C |
D |
E |
F |
G |
I |
J |
L |
M |
N |
O |
P |
Q |
S |
U |
V |