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Contesting paternity test results

DNA testing has revolutionized paternity actions. Before the DNA test courts relied on blood tests, witness testimonies and circumstantial evidence to infer paternity. Often fathers were given paternity over children that were not theirs and biological fathers were denied rights to their own children. It was a complicated situation. Now, DNA allows for much more accurate testing. However, DNA tests are administered by humans and anything handled by humans is prone to error. Here are a few tips to contest the validity of a paternity test.

There are a few grounds to challenge the validity of a paternity test.

First, if you can furnish proof that the paternity test was manipulated or tampered with. Often this involves getting into the laboratory?s testing and handling procedures. The entire process needs to proceed perfectly for the test to be accurate. That means unbroken seals and a clear chain of custody. If there is an hour or two where the test disappeared, that could be grounds to challenge the result and/or order a re-test.

Second, you may also be able to attack the accuracy of the lab itself. If this particular lab is known for making errors, then you may be able to undermine the reliability of the test itself. You might be able to get the test transferred to another lab or invalidated permanently.

The third way is proof that the result was fraudulently obtained. The classic example is that your ex-partner switched your sample with someone else?s.

The fourth is proof of infertility or sterility. It may not be the most desirous option, but it does work to undermine the reliability of a paternity test.

The fifth is proof that the mother cheated on you during the marriage. This one usually works to rebut the initial presumption that a child is yours. When a child is born during a marriage, it is presumed to be the husband?s. If you can furnish evidence of cheating, you can rebut this presumption.

If you are in an ongoing dispute regarding paternity, you may want to hire an attorney. Once paternity is established over a child, you owe that child ongoing duties of support and care until adulthood (and sometimes further). A lawyer is a good person to have on your side to ensure that you exhaust every option before the paternity finding is final.

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