For people in Pennsylvania, the explosion in popularity of DNA testing has led to increasingly common scientific validation of paternity and other familial relationships. The precision and growing affordability of DNA tests has made paternity tests more common, and they are frequently used in the courtroom when addressing child support and custody issues. This is especially true when the parents are unmarried, or there is a dispute about parentage In some cases, DNA tests are even required to make a firm legal order of paternity.
In some cases, DNA paternity tests have freed people of child support obligations after proving that they were not the child's actual parent. In many other cases, a child support order has been established after the legal confirmation of a child's parentage. In many cases, a man married to the mother of a child is presumed to be the father. This presumption may be rebuttable with a DNA test to the contrary, but the opposite situation exists for unmarried fathers. When the father and mother are not married, the father's name does not need to be listed on the birth certificate unless he is legally considered the father.
Paternity and child support cases can often arise in complicated scenarios. In some cases, the mother may only name an alleged father because she is pressured to do so to access government support and benefits. In this case, the state will usually proceed to seek child support from the named father.
Unmarried people who are involved in a child support and custody case may find that DNA paternity testing is critical to establish responsibility or correct the record. A family law attorney might work with an alleged father to secure a paternity test to make clear that he is not the actual father or to begin establishing a parent-child relationship.