Paternity testing has become more and more popular in recent years. In the past, courts couldn’t rely on paternity tests because of their accuracy. However, they are now commonplace in many different court proceedings. Especially where custody and financial support issues are tried. They are something that doesn’t even necessarily have to play into a court case. There are plenty of people who are requesting them personally. Sometimes because of a question of infidelity between a couple.
While DNA is the best way to establish paternity of a child, there are different ways of establishing and eliminating matches. Whether the DNA sample is taken from an umbilical cord, saliva swab or blood sample; there are many ways to test an actual sample itself. One fast and easy way is by blood type. This is used as a way to exclude someone, rather than confirm that someone is a parent. The most accepted and used method is DNA testing to confirm matching markers in the samples. This is commonly what we think of when we hear about paternity testing as though it has been the most accurate method so far. However, how accurate it depends on markers tested and the laboratory doing the testing.
Paternity tests that use DNA work by identifying specific pieces of DNA that fathers share with their children. If the DNA in the samples match in size, he might be the father. However, these may also match other men in the population. This is why there needs to be more locations tested, called genetic markers. The more markers there are tested, the rarer the pattern and the more exclusions from the test. If the testing is stopped too soon and the model is a common one, there is a higher chance that the testing will be false. This tends to be the case with false inclusions. This is the reason that the test will always state probability of accuracy.
Another large reason for the error is exclusions. It happens when the lab mixes up labels or envelopes. This means that they may test the mother’s DNA as the child’s or the child’s as the father’s. There would be a mistake regardless of how many genetic markers the test covers. There are plenty of different ways that these errors can play out. This is why there are more and more laboratories that are examining all of the samples against each other. There are also examples of parents sending in samples that they didn’t give. If this is the case, the father must give the sample himself. Another problem tends to be that there isn’t enough DNA in a given sample. This is part of the reason that more of the necessary sample is taken than usual.
While courts are familiar with the fact that not all paternity test is entirely accurate, they still need to let the case be presented. This means that if your attorney isn’t familiar with this focus of the law, you can lose the case. Sure, they know that there can be errors in the testing. But, your attorney needs to show the court that this is what happened and give a strong representation of that to the judge. This is why having a competent attorney who is familiar with these cases is so important. This means they will miss details that could b the difference between winning your case and mistaken paternity. This isn’t something you want to take a chance with. It isn’t just a matter of paying an attorney that isn’t going to give you a solid case. It is also a matter of family and knowing the truth. And that is what is most important, overall.
If you have to take a paternity test or are pending one, you might need an attorney on your side. You will likely need one after, you might as well have one now and acquire some guidance for the test. They will be able to answer any questions you may have about liability and how the case will play out. You want to make sure that you have someone with experience and knowledge in this field since it isn’t a typical focus. Having seen cases like yours and how different strategies can play out is an essential asset. It will be a powerful tool in your case and could make the difference between dismissal and conviction. This isn’t something that you want to take a chance on. It could turn out incredibly expensive and lengthy. These cases are never short and sweet.
ADA Disclaimer: Lewert Law is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and all applicable website standards including WCAG 2.0. It does not discriminate on the basis of disability. If you have any issues observing the content of this website, please contact us. Upon request, reasonable accommodations will be made.