They have been poked fun on the Maury Povich Show and on Internet memes. But paternity tests are no laughing matter. There are currently countless children and grown adults throughout Utah who do not know the identity of their fathers. It is one of the most serious and common matters in Salt Lake City family law. The consequences can be emotionally and financially severe for everyone involved. Paternity tests not only determine the identity of the father, but they can also provide insight into family medical history. By correctly identifying the father, mothers can begin the process of receiving child support and other benefits.
During pregnancy, most states require an Acknowledgment of Paternity form to be completed at the hospital. Once the document is signed, the couple has a limited amount of time to complete a DNA paternity test to amend the AOP. If the time has expired and the couple has not completed the test, then the person listed on the AOP is legally responsible for the child. Even if the person listed on the AOP is later tested and not found to be the biological father, they are still legally responsible for the child. Many states require unmarried couples to take paternity tests to list a father’s name on a birth certificate.
There are three different types of paternity tests. Each one is to be performed during pregnancy. Testing can be done as soon as the end of the first trimester. The results are kept confidential. Each test poses no health risks to the mother or the developing baby. Depending on the procedure, prices can range from $400 to $2,000.
- Amniocentesis: In addition to verifying the father, it is also one of the most effective tests to determine whether the child will be born with downs syndrome. Taken during the second trimester, amniocentesis involves the use of a long needle into the uterus and through the abdomen. The needle is used to remove amniotic fluid, which is to be tested. A doctor’s consent is required to complete the procedure.
- Non-Evasive Prenatal Paternity (NIPP): Of all the paternity test, NIPP is considered the most accurate and utilizes state-of-the-art technology of analyzing a baby’s DNA found in the mother’s bloodstream. The test simply requires blood samples from the alleged father and mother. NIPP can be performed at any time after the eighth week of pregnancy.
- Chronic Villus Sampling (CVS): One of the advantages of CVS is it can be completed relatively early in the pregnancy. (10-13 weeks) It consists of using a long needle or tube to be inserted from the vagina into the cervix. The needle is guided through ultrasound to collect chorionic villi. These pieces of tissue contain the same genetic makeup as the fertilized egg of the fetus.
If you are a single mother, it is extremely important to identify the father of your baby. To learn more about how test results can be used in court, contact a Salt Lake City family law attorney today.