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How is paternity determined?

The process of establishing paternity simply refers to discovering who a child's father is. It's often assumed with married couples, even though this can technically be wrong in some cases, but establishment of paternity may be necessary with unmarried couples, especially when there is a disagreement.

For example, a woman may claim that a man is the father of her child, asking him to pay child support. He, not wanting to pay support, may say he's not the father. A test will then need to be carried out to determine if he has a legal obligation to pay child support or not.

if the two adults agree that the man is the father, a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form can be filled out and turned in at the hospital. This is done to give couples a fast and easy way to establish paternal rights and obligations when they both agree on where things stand. The parents also have the option of going to court to legally acknowledge their roles.

When a dispute arises in court, the court may then turn to genetic testing. It can order a mandatory test to be carried out. This is typically done by taking a swab sample from the alleged father, the mother, and the child. It can take over a month to get the results back from the lab, though a month is considered the standard time-frame.

Paternity testing can be very important when determining child custody rights, father's rights, child support obligations, and much more. Be sure you know all of your rights and what must be done when a court order is handed down.

Source: Kentucky Child Support Information, "What is paternity?," accessed Oct. 21, 2016

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