Just Call Me Daddy

Most people figure a paternity test is when a man wants to know if a child is really his. While that is one reason, there are often legal reasons for this test being done as well.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a paternity test is to determine who the father of a child is. Tests really aren’t needed for the woman, unless she got pregnant thanks to an egg donation, because she is obviously the mother. This is why the male’s DNA is tested and not the female’s.

The simplest test to determine paternity happens to be the DNA test, because when a new embryo is created, it pulls DNA coding from both mom and dad to start a new life. The roadmap of the child’s DNA can only lead to one father and mother. DNA tests are startlingly accurate, up to 99.9%. The only exception to this rule is the remote possibility that one of a set of twin brothers could be the father. Still, in this situation, a combination of tests would be able to reveal the true father with a great degree of accuracy.

A practical question in some instances is whether or not a paternity test is “legally” necessary. While a father has a right to know if a child is actually his, the real question becomes whether or not it is beneficial for the child to know this piece of information.

How will it affect the child if it is determined that the father who has raised him is not his actual, biological father? The bonds that have been established between the father and child often make such a determination psychologically harmful.

Instances where a paternity determination is legally necessary are those instances where there are disputes as to custody, visitation, and child support. These issues most often arise in cases where the couples have not married, but ironically can arise in a divorce case.

We have seen quite a few cases where fathers who want to establish parental rights are in direct conflict with a person who may have raised the child as his own. In situations like this, there is often an ugly legal battle over parental rights and how granting them may affect the welfare of the child at the center of the battle.

There’s a great debate over this issue, with two schools of thought. The first one says that since the father created the child, he should have the right to be a dad to his offspring. The second school of thought supposes that a child should not be forced into having to choose between a man he has considered to be his “dad” and who has been present in the child’s home environment, or his biological dad. There is no perfect resolution, and each case should be dealt with on its particular set of facts and circumstances. This is one area of the law where there are very few, if any, perfect solutions.

Having a paternity test is sometimes akin to opening a can of worms, and the legal ramifications need to be carefully considered before proceeding. When in doubt about the wisdom of learning whether you are a child’s father, especially if the child already has a “dad,” consult with a skilled family law attorney who will be able to advise you of your rights.

Bradley J. Hofland is with Las Vegas Divorce law firm, Hofland, Beasley & Galliher. The law firm focuses on Las Vegas family law, custody, and Las Vegas personal injury. To learn more about
Las Vegas divorce, Las Vegas personal injury, Las Vegas divorce lawyer, Las Vegas family law, Las Vegas family law attorneys, Las Vegas personal injury lawyer, visit Hoflandlaw.com.