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Can the Court Order a Paternity Test? 

 Posted on September 14, 2023 in Family Law

Fredericksburg Family Law AttorneyEstablishing paternity is crucial for both legal and emotional reasons. In cases where the biological father’s identity is in question, a paternity test can provide clarity and determine important legal rights and responsibilities. However, what happens when parties in a paternity dispute refuse to cooperate? Can the court step in and order a paternity test? The answer is yes; the court can order a paternity test. If you are currently in a paternity dispute, contact a lawyer immediately to obtain crucial legal representation as you navigate this important process.

Legal Basis for Court-Ordered Paternity Tests

In Texas paternity disputes, the court can and often does exercise its authority to order a paternity test. This authority is granted under the jurisdiction of family law, which prioritizes whatever is best for the child. The court aims to establish legal paternity to ensure the child’s rights to financial support, inheritance, and access to medical benefits. Additionally, a court-ordered paternity test serves to protect the rights of both the alleged father and the child, providing the opportunity for a fair and conclusive determination of paternity. 

Circumstances for Court Intervention

The court typically intervenes in paternity cases when there is uncertainty or disagreement regarding the child’s biological father. This can arise in situations where a potential father denies paternity or when the mother or child seeks to establish paternity for support or legal rights. The court requires a reasonable basis for doubt or legitimate interest in determining paternity to order a paternity test. This may involve presenting evidence such as testimonies, medical records, or other relevant documentation to support the need for a paternity test.

Process and Implications

When the court orders a paternity test, it typically mandates that the alleged father and child undergo DNA testing. The process involves collecting samples from both parties, usually through a simple cheek swab, to analyze their genetic material. The samples are sent to a certified laboratory, and the results are provided to the court. 

The implications of a court-ordered paternity test can be far-reaching. If the test confirms paternity, the court can establish legal responsibilities such as child support, custody, and visitation rights. On the other hand, if the test disproves paternity, it can absolve the alleged father of any legal obligations. It is important to note that it can be difficult to challenge the court’s decision or alter legal obligations once paternity is established. 

Contact a Llano County Family Law Attorney

For legal assistance in your paternity matter, contact the skilled Marble Falls family lawyer with Law Office of Russ Alan Baker, PLLC. Call 325-216-2006 for a private consultation. 

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