Have you ever wondered if that beautiful bouncing baby boy or angelic little girl is really your biological child (or if the man you assume is the biological father is really the father)? If so, you are questioning the child’s paternity. The word “paternity” literally means to be someone’s father. There are times, such as in surrogacy cases, when a woman’s maternity is also in question.
Why do questions of paternity exist? The most common answers are infidelity and careless sex. Cheating wives, cheating husbands, cheating girlfriends, cheating boyfriends, too much alcohol, and one-night stands can all contribute to the lingering doubt of paternity. Other reasons for questioning paternity include, but are not limited to, sexual assault, sperm donors, and/or infertility. The underlying reasons for your lack of trust in your significant other can be difficult to put into words. Luckily, technology takes the guesswork out of paternity.
DNA PATERNITY TEST
When clients come to us with questions of paternity, we often encourage them to take a genetic test. Genetic tests are commonly referred to as DNA tests. In our practice, we’ve found that some mothers are offended when a man asks for a genetic test. Please don’t let this common response deter you from requesting a genetic test. Everyone involved in the life of the child deserves to know the truth about the child’s paternity. If you have doubts that you may be the biological father of a child, put your mind at ease by getting the factual data you need to finally know the truth by submitting to a genetic test. Our team of paternity lawyers knows exactly what to do and can guide you through all of the necessary steps to find closure.
The genetic samples may be from blood, buccal cells, bone, hair, or other body tissue or fluid. Most collectors take a cotton swab and rub it on the inside of the person’s cheek to collect a DNA sample. The process is painless and it doesn’t take long. The sample must then be sent to a lab for analysis where your genetic markers are compared to the genetic markers of the child. Although it may take a few weeks to receive the written results, genetic test results are extremely accurate. The testing is a complicated process that involves accredited laboratories, ethnic and racial group databases, and calculations of the probability of paternity.
Once paternity is established, custody, visitation, and support issues come alive. Establishing and knowing paternity is important because parents have constitutional rights to raise their children free from interference from the state. If you’re involved in a custody dispute with a child, the Texas Family Code addresses certain parental rights that should be addressed in your court order. Those parental rights include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The right to receive information from any other conservator of the child concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child
- The right to confer with the other parent to the extent possible before making a decision concerning the health, education, and welfare of the child
- The right of access to medical, dental, psychological, and educational records of the child
- The right to consult with a physician, dentist, or psychologist of the child
- The right to consult with school officials concerning the child’s welfare and educational status, including school activities
- The right to attend school activities
- The right to be designated on the child’s records as a person to be notified in case of an emergency
- The right to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment during an emergency involving an immediate danger to the health and safety of the child
- The right to manage the estate of the child
- The right to decide where the child lives
- The right to make decisions concerning the child’s education
- The right to consent for the child to medical and dental care not involving an invasive procedure
- The right to direct the moral and religious training of the child
- The right to consent to non‑emergency medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures for the child
- The right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment of the child
- The right to make legal decisions on the child’s behalf
- The right to consent to the marriage of the child
- The right to consent to the enlistment of the child in the armed forces of the United States
- The right to make educational decisions
- The right to the services and earnings of the child
- The right to act as an agent of the child in relation to the child’s estates if the child’s action is required by a state, the United States, or a foreign government
- The right to possession of and access to the child
Knowing your parental rights is the key to spending time with your child and being involved in making significant decisions that impact your child’s life every single day. The paternity law attorneys at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson can help you find the truth, and we know what to do with it once it’s found.