Collecting child support from deadbeat dads can be a problem. But their children are entitled to child support.
The first step is establishing paternity. If the identify of the father is in doubt or disputed, a DNA paternity test can uncover the truth.
A certified lab collects blood or cheek cell samples from the mother, the child, and the alleged father. From these samples they can compare their DNA.
NOTE: Since it would be easy for a man to submit another person’s sample as his own, courts do not accept at-home paternity tests. Each person must be identified and sampled by lab personnel.
The DNA Comparison
The test compares a series of DNA markers. The child will have a pair of values at each marker, e.g. 11 and 12. One value is inherited from each parent.
For some markers it will be clear which value came from the mother. For example, if her values at that same marker are 12 and 13, the child must have gotten the 12 from her. So the child’s 11 had to come from its father.
If the tested man does not have the required value, in this case an 11, he can be excluded with 100% confidence.
For some markers a man may have two identical values, e.g. 10 and 10. In that case any of his children must receive a 10. A child that does not have a 10, e.g. the 11 and 12 in the prior example, cannot be his child.
The lab repeats this same comparison on a series of markers. If the man is not excluded on any of the markers, the probability that he is the father will be 99% or greater. This is enough to establish a legal presumption of paternity.
Certainty of Results
Somewhere there are other men who happen to have exactly the same values at all the tested markers. But the probability that two random men with the same markers are involved with the same woman is low enough to be insignificant.
NOTE: Identical twins have the same DNA. If an alleged father has an identical twin, that alternative father may have to be ruled out through additional testing.
Benefits to the Child
The immediate goal of a DNA paternity test is to secure child support payments from deadbeat dads. In addition, the child gains certain legal rights and privileges, including rights to inheritance and rights to the father’s medical and life insurance benefits. This may also mean rights to social security and possibly veterans’ benefits.
When faced with incontrovertible evidence of paternity, some deadbeat dads will decide to do the right thing and recognize their fatherhood. This can provide the child with a chance to develop a relationship with its father. Having a connection to the “other half” of his or her family can help the child develop a sense of identity.
Knowledge of the father’s medical history can also become important to the child’s health.
My recommended lab for paternity testing is DNA Findings. They can arrange for sample collection in your area. Many other labs can do the same thing. Just be sure to compare accreditations and pricing.