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Importance of DNA testing for paternity

Paternity is a critical issue when it comes to matters of child support and visitation for unmarried parents. If a man is not married to the mother of a child, then that man is not presumed to be the child's biological father. Additional legal steps must be taken to establish paternity. When it is disputed, a New Jersey court will often turn to DNA testing to establish paternity. DNA tests are a proven method, with accuracy rates above 99 percent. There are many reasons to establish paternity and request DNA testing.

Establishing paternity makes a child the legal responsibility of the father. A mother may not be able to collect child support from a father until paternity is established. A man may refuse to be acknowledged as the father as a means of avoiding child support responsibilities. In this case, a mother may obtain a court order for DNA testing to determine paternity. Once paternity is established, a mother may continue with the process of determining and collecting child support.

A father may also have reason to request DNA testing to establish paternity. Men generally have no legal rights or access to a child unless they are legally declared as the father. In cases where a mother or other legal guardian is preventing access to a child, the only way for a father to exercise his legal rights and gain visitation or possible custody is to first establish paternity.

Paternity testing is most often needed for couples who were unmarried when the child was born. An attorney can assist a client with the process of requesting a court order for DNA testing. It is also important to follow up after the testing is completed. Additional work will be required before a child support order is issued.

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