When people become parents their primary thoughts tend to be concerned with financial, emotional and practical issues. Is their relationship a stable one? Can they afford it? Will one of them be able to stop working? The arrival of a child can stir many questions with their paternity being a key one.

The legal ramifications of a man or woman’s paternity claim are endless. There are obvious issues of family and belonging, but also custody, support and inheritance. Internationally it has now become common practice that whenever paternity is disputed, it is resolved through the use of a DNA test. Where there is refusal from one of the parties to participate, the court might intervene to force the parties to participate, especially when custody and separation claims are being made.

Laws protecting the child

More often than not, legal cause for determining paternity will be related to legal issues surrounding a child. These are more commonly requested my mothers, seeking financial support from an absent or uninterested father. However, there are more cases coming to light of fathers previously in the dark about their biological offspring, looking to certify their relationship with a child.

Taxation

Depending on where you live, there may even be tax advantages of being a parent. In cases where there are disputed or the paternity is uncertain, then an official paternity DNA test would be required by a court or government organisation to confirm the paternity and process the related claims.  Of course it is always advisable to speak to an expert to confirm what benefits may be available.

Inheritance

More significantly, inheritance without a will relies heavily on blood relationships. A DNA test could decide whether or not a person has any entitlement to an estate, and indeed, depending on the match, the extent of their entitlement. In fact it is now possible to store one’s own DNA profile in advance in case there are any claims on the estate by third parties who may not be known to the family avoiding possible long and tiresome legal battles.

As we have seen whatever the requirements, legal paternity testing can provide an essential tool in defining the biological relationships involved and consequently the legal rights of each party.

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