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Using DNA tests to establish paternity

Florida fathers who wanted to establish paternity before the era of blood and DNA tests were up against some very serious challenges. For this reason, courts traditionally would award paternity to whatever man was married to the woman who gave birth to the child, and in terms of unmarried women, courts would not allow a great deal of speculation or argument unless the physical appearance of the child in question was overwhelmingly proof enough.

Genetic testing has changed all this, making it possible for any father to prove that he is the parent of his or her biological children at any time. All that is required is a piece of genetic material from the child and the father in question. Children receive half of their genetic information from their fathers and half from their mothers, and since DNA is entirely unique to the individual, scientists can examine DNA to conclusively prove with 99.9 percent accuracy whether or not a man is the father of a particular child.

In paternity lawsuits, it is not uncommon for a Florida court to order the child and father to surrender Buccal scrap DNA samples, which are obtained by vigorously rubbing a swab against the side of the test subject's cheek. A blood sample might also be obtained from the umbilical cord of a baby at birth. Once paternity is conclusively shown by DNA testing, Florida courts will award paternity -- and all the rights and privileges that come along with that status -- to the father in question.

Florida fathers who have been removed from their children by mothers who claim that they are not the fathers have the ability establish paternity through DNA testing should they so desire. By discussing their unique cases with a child custody law attorney, fathers can develop the best strategy to pursue child custody in this regard.

Source: FindLaw, "Paternity Tests: Blood Tests and DNA," accessed Nov. 11, 2016

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