California residents facing child support issues, child custody cases and paternity questions may benefit from having a better understanding of the role that DNA testing plays in the court's decision. Many cases require some form of DNA testing before parentage can be determined.
A DNA test can determine whether child support will be paid. When an unmarried couple has a child, the man involved is not automatically named as the child's father. Instead, he is referred to as the "alleged father." His name does not appear on the birth certificate until he has been legally determined to be the father by DNA testing. Only after paternity has been determined will he be responsible for paying child support. He may also be granted visitation rights.
The vital role that DNA testing plays in child custody and child support cases is seen when looking at famous individuals like Steve Jobs and Mick Jagger. Both men denied paternity and reportedly tried to avoid parental involvement, including financial support, for as long as possible. However, when paternity was proven, both men became more involved in the lives of their children and met their legal and financial obligations.
In some cases, both parents agree to have DNA testing done to determine parentage. In other cases, government agencies or the courts may order one or both parents to take a DNA test. The results produced by these tests often expedite the resolution of custody cases.
Family law attorneys may represent a client who believes that he is a child's biological father and entitled to visitation rights. Attorneys may help their clients draw up visitation schedules and custody agreements. They may also represent their client in custody hearings and present evidence, including DNA testing, to prove paternity. They may argue for their client's fitness as a parent and show that their client having full or partial custody is in the child's best interests.