Methods of Establishing Paternity (continued)

  DNA coding.

A Court Order Establishes Paternity

A genetic (DNA) test can be used to determine that a man is the biological father of a child. Parents may complete DNA testing without the court's involvement, but this does not establish a man as the legal father for the child. To determine a legal father, the genetic testing must be accepted by the court.

Establishing paternity in court instead of establishing paternity based on signing an Affidavit of Parentage increases the amount of time and money spent in the child support process. In most states, a child is legally entitled to receive financial support from his or her parents, from birth until the age of 18 -- whether the parents are married, legally separated, divorced, or were never married.

In legal terms, an "order" is a command entered by a judge (usually a family court judge in child support cases), instructing parties to take some action (e.g., to make periodic child support payments in a set amount), or face penalties for violation of the order. Child support "orders" are the method through which the court sets the terms of a child support situation, and the basis upon which an enforcement or collection action can be taken against a parent who has failed to meet his or her support obligations.

< Back      Next>