Some people see paternity tests as an amusing gag you see on day time talk shows. Others, who are going through a serious custody battle, see it otherwise. Some men, for personal reasons, may decide to fight a finding of paternity test. There are a few different ways to do this depending on the circumstances.
The Role of Paternity Tests
Paternity tests are actually an important part of child custody cases. They help the biological father to establish basic rights over his children. They also help the father to receive shared custody time. Establishing paternity is a good thing if you are sure of your status as the father.
This testing can also be helpful to the mother of the child. A paternity finding means that the child has the right to financial support from the father. It also allows the child to know certain facts about the father, such as his medical history. This information can be used throughout the child's lifetime to help with important health-related decisions.
Either way, paternity needs to be firmly established before legal rights become applicable. In some cases, the showing on the test is not enough. One party may contest the findings for many different reasons. When this happens, the science behind the test becomes very important.
Contesting Paternity Results
Alleged fathers who do not agree with paternity results have a legal remedy. Usually, the moving party will have to file a lawsuit with the court. At this stage, further DNA testing may be ordered. The plaintiff (father) may also provide any other evidence that he believes is relevant. Usually this will involve detailed medical or scientific information that controverts the paternity results. A family law attorney can advise you on what type of evidential showing is required.
Commonly Debated Issues in Paternity Cases
There are several ways to dispute a paternity finding. One avenue is to prove that the results of the test underwent tampering. It is also possible to show that the lab staff acted erroneously or negligently when conducting the exam. In some cases, a man who is infertile can use his condition to dispute the alleged results. How one chooses to challenge paternity is a fact dependent decision.
Every jurisdiction handles this situation differently. In Utah, paternity proceedings are done by the court or the Office of Recovery Services. In either case, a DNA test will be necessary to come to a final conclusion. However, as discussed above, there are always ways to challenge a DNA test. If you have a serious doubt about paternity, don't just assume that the initial test is valid. Instead, explain the situation to an experienced attorney who can help determine if you have a case.
If you need help with a paternity issue or any other child custody matters, contact Spencer and Jensen. Speak to a custody lawyer now about your options.