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What tests establish paternity?

Paternity is the formal establishment of legal ties between a father and his child. Paternity is formed in a variety of ways, but there are two primary tests: the blood test and DNA test. This article will go over the pros and cons of both tests.

The reason that a test is necessary to establish paternity is because fatherhood is not always readily apparent. For example, if the mother is unmarried or the father is absent from the child's life. Occasionally, fathers must compel or be compelled by these tests to establish paternity.

The blood test was the only method to prove paternity until the 1900s, when DNA testing became feasible. The original blood tests involved the isolation of blood types from the child and mother. Each human could be:

  • Blood type A.
  • Blood type B.
  • Blood type AB.
  • Blood type O.

The test works by isolating blood sera and combining it with sugar molecules. Unfortunately, this system did not always provide reliable results. However, the more powerful HLA white-blood test was introduced in the 1970s. The HLA test is able to exclude around 95 percent of false positives, so it is much more accurate.

But, regardless of increased accuracy, a blood test can only exclude potential fathers; it cannot definitively establish paternity. DNA testing is able to positively link paternity because of the nature of DNA. Children receive one-half of their DNA from each parent and DNA is accurate up to 99.9 percent. During testing, the genetic characteristics of the child are compared to the mother. So any points of divergence should be from the father.

If you are in the midst of a paternity battle, then you may want to speak to an attorney. Regardless of whether you are trying to establish paternity or defending an action seeking to hold you responsible, an attorney can go over the issues with you and help devise a legal strategy. Paternity is a serious commitment to a child that entails years of payments and responsibilities. Do not take these actions lightly.

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