Do I Need a DNA Test for Child Support?

December 28, 2020

Many child support questions in Tavares, FL involve the need for DNA tests. Whether you need one to collect child support depends on the circumstances of your case. When a father acknowledges a child, you usually do not need a DNA test. But that can change, and sometimes, paternity testing offers another level of reassurance. Here are five situations in which DNA testing is necessary:

  • Unmarried parents: If you were married at the time you conceived your child, fatherhood is presumed, but this is not the case with unmarried parents. Until a DNA test establishes paternity, your child has an “alleged” father rather than an actual one. Even if the father acknowledges the child, you may want to confirm that with a DNA test so you do not face issues later. Once the court confirms the father’s identity, it determines child support and parenting plan schedules.
  • Public assistance: Florida requires both parents to financially support their children. If you receive public assistance, the state will pursue the father of your children to recoup expenses. The process usually involves a DNA test to help the state pursue the correct person. Otherwise, state agencies risk civil damages if they garnish child support from the wrong individual.
  • Presumed father questions: If your former spouse is the presumed father, he remains in that position until you or your current spouse establish otherwise. If there are no challenges to this premise, your former spouse is responsible for child support payments. However, this is a rebuttable presumption, and if your former spouse denies being the father, you need to order a DNA test. A positive test allows you to pursue child support from him.
  • Multiple candidates for the father: If your former spouse is confirmed not to be the father, you need to identify other possible fathers and test them. This process involves filing a paternity petition and naming likely candidates. Until you confirm fatherhood through a DNA test, you cannot pursue that obligation. Once the tests determine the father, that individual is liable for child support and can request parenting time.
  • Absent parents: DNA tests also confirm the identities of absent parents. The parent with custody uses the test to establish the identity of the parent who abandoned the child. If the absent parent denies their connection to the child, the only way to secure child support and other obligations is through a DNA test. Courts and state agencies can compel these tests to secure support for the child.

DNA testing is a simple procedure. If you are ordering one for a legal issue, choose a certified facility. Hospitals, medical offices and health departments are certified facilities. Your attorney likely has recommendations on where to secure a DNA test if it’s necessary for your case.

K.J. Law P.A. is a family law and criminal defense law firm serving clients in Tavares, FL. We offer extensive knowledge and experience with cases involving paternity testing, and we can help you too. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and get answers to your child support questions.

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