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You’ve just learned from a former partner that you could be the father of brand-new baby, but you’re not married to the mother.  Or maybe you’ve been with the mother during the whole pregnancy but you’re not sure whether you’re the father of her new baby since she cheated on you around the time of conception. The mother wants you to claim the child legally by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. You’re feeling pressured. Before you fall in love with that beautiful little person, STOP. There’s a hard question you need to ask yourself: Should I get a paternity test before signing an acknowledgement of paternity?

NOTE: This article is not intended to be legal advice—it is for general informational purposes only. For guidance regarding your particular situation, please contact a social worker or family-law attorney in your area.

What is a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity?

The word “paternity”—of course—means fatherhood. So when you voluntarily acknowledge paternity of a child by signing this legal document, you’re saying you consider yourself the child’s father (whether you’re biologically related or not) and that you’re freely choosing to take legal responsibility for the child’s upbringing. The mother signs the document too, and—in most states—it is sent to the department of vital records, which then records the new father’s name on the birth certificate. In many cases, it can be obtained from the hospital right after the birth of the baby.

What Happens When I Sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity?

When this acknowledgement is signed, it is just as legally binding as when a court order names you as the father, so it’s not something that should be taken lightly. When you sign that document:

-You can no longer request a court hearing to determine if you are the child’s biological father

-You have the ability to establish visitation rights and custody

-Depending on your state, you may be able to contest any move to put the child up for adoption

-The child gains inheritance rights

-The child may be entitled to your benefits like social security and health insurance, and veterans’ benefits

-You are financially responsible for the child’s upbringing

Are There Circumstances Where I Wouldn’t Be Able to Sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity?

There are definitely circumstances where you cannot sign this acknowledgement:

-If the other was married during the pregnancy (at any time) or if she was married at the time the baby was born

-The mother is unmarried but there is another man who is also claiming paternity

-The child hasn’t been born yet

Why You Should Get a Paternity Test Before Signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity

The only way to withdraw an Acknowledgement of Paternity is to file a petition with the family court. There is usually a limited time—such as 60 days—for a man to do this.  Once this time period is over, the only way to challenge the document is to prove to the court that it was signed based on fraud or mistake of material fact.

If you’re not sure you’re the biological child of the father or even if you are sure, it’s wise to protect yourself by insisting on a DNA paternity test before signing anything.

 As you’ve learned in this article, the consequences of and responsibilities associated with signing the acknowledgement of paternity are legal and serious, so it just makes sense to get definitive answers to fatherhood questions through DNA science.

If you think a baby is yours and the mother is refusing a paternity test, in many states you only have two (2) years to file a paternity action, which is yet another reason to do a DNA test as soon as possible.

The Bottom Line

 Welcoming a new baby is an emotional time for everyone. Before making a forever commitment, it’s smart to do your due diligence by getting a paternity test before signing an acknowledgement of paternity. If you have questions or concerns, by all means contact a social worker or family-law attorney in your area.

 About HomeDNA IDENTIGENE

 HomeDNA IDENTIGENE has been a leader in high-quality affordable DNA paternity testing since 1993 and is the only choice offered at retail stores from coast to coast, including CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Walmart. With a test this important, it just makes good sense to go with America’s #1 at-home kit.

If you’re not sure you’re the biological child of the father or even if you are sure, it’s wise to protect yourself by insisting on a DNA paternity test before signing anything.
Get a Home Paternity Test >>

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter! If you have questions about paternity tests or other DNA testing services, please contact our  Client Support Center at 888-404-4363, Mon-Fri  from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM Eastern Time. Our friendly, expert representatives are ready and happy to help. Get answers anytime by visiting our Help Center

The post Should I Get a Paternity Test Before Signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity? appeared first on IDENTIGENE.

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If you may have fathered a child and are considering a paternity test, there are many pluses to doing so, both for the child and you. The most important benefit, of course, is that you can look forward to developing a positive relationship with your child, if circumstances allow. Besides the emotional benefits of positive paternity testing results, there may be some financial ones as well: namely, you may be able to claim the child on your taxes. Here is a quick overview of three possibilities.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered tax advice. Please consult taxes professionals or the IRS website for details and direction.

1. Tax Tip & Benefit: Claim a Child as a Dependent

 According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a dependent is a child or other relative for whom you can claim a tax exemption.

What is a tax exemption?

An exemption is similar to a taxable-income deduction, but in this case the amount is subtracted from your adjusted gross income before the taxable income calculation.

SO WHAT’S THE BENEFIT? In a ‘real life’ scenario, when you have a dependent, it decreases the amount of federal taxes withheld in your paycheck by your employer.

There are six (6) specific qualifications that must be met in order for a child to be claimed as a dependent. The IRS term for the dependent is a Qualifying Child.

  1. Relationship: The child must be your daughter, son, or other qualifying relative. If you are not on the child’s birth certificate, the IRS may require that you provide proof of paternity. This proof can be provided by taking a legal (chain-of-custody) paternity test.
  2. Age requirements: The child must have been under the age of 19 on the last day of the year as well as younger than you. They can also be a full-time student under the age of 24 who is younger than you or a qualifying relative of any age who is permanently disabled.
  3. You provide more than half of the child’s support: This includes housing, transportation, medical costs, clothing, recreation, and food.
  4. Where the child lives: If the child has lived with you for more than half of the year, this fulfills the residency requirement.
  5. Join return: If the child is married and is filing a joint tax return with their spouse, this disqualifies them from exemption qualification.
  6. Can be claimed as a Qualifying Child by more than one person: If they can be claimed by someone else (for example, the mother’s child to whom you are not married), then you must be the person entitled to claim the child. If the parents are not married, a child cannot be claimed by both parents.
2. Tax Tip & Benefit: Child Tax Credit

Quite simply, you can get a credit worth up to $1,000 per dependent child! This credit is meant to help offset the cost of raising the child.

The requirements to qualify for the Child Tax Credit are as follows:

  1. The child must qualify as your dependent (see qualifications listed above).
  2. You must be the parent claiming the child as a dependent (if not filing jointly with the child’s mother).
  3. The child must have been 16 or younger as of December 31.
  4. The child must be a citizen of the United States, a national, or resident alien.
3. Tax Tip & Benefit: Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit

If you pay a provider to care for one or more children under the age of 13, you may be eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. For taxes, you can get credit for up to 35% of the costs of paying for a provider. The exact number is based on your income and the number of qualifying children.

SO WHAT’S THE BENEFIT? You could get a credit for up to the maximum of $3,000!

Taxes: How a Paternity Test Can Help If you’re considering doing a paternity test, it’s important to understand that results for an at-home test cannot be used for any legal purpose, including establishing yourself as a legal parent. The reason is because the identities of test participants cannot be verified with an at-home test. The only paternity report accepted by the court is a legal paternity test from an accredited laboratory.  So establishing legal paternity of your child is the first step to claiming any tax benefits you may qualify for as the biological father. As you can see from this article, most benefits are for fathers who take an active part in their child’s care. If a paternity test comes back positive, there are many ways to establish a fatherhood relationship-and that emotional connection far outweighs any financial benefit.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter! If you have questions about paternity tests or other DNA testing services, please contact our  Client Support Center at 888-404-4363, Mon-Fri  from 9 AM to 6 PM Eastern Time. Our friendly, expert representatives are ready and happy to help. Get answers anytime by visiting our Help Center

Resources

“EITC Help.” Qualifying Child Rules. IRS, 3 Nov. 2015. Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <http://www.irs.gov/Credits-&-Deductions/Individuals/Earned-Income-Tax-Credit/Qualifying-Child-Rules>.

 “Tax Credits & Tax Deductions for Parents with Children or Dependents.” List of Tax Deductions for Parents with Children, Dependents. Efile.com, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <http://www.efile.com/tax-deductions-credits-for-parents-with-children-dependents/>.

Taxpayer, Joe. “How to Change Your W-4 Withholding to Maximize Your Tax Refund – HRBlock Talk.” HRBlock Talk. HRB Digital, LLC, 14 Jan. 2013. Web. 04 Feb. 2016. <http://blogs.hrblock.com/2013/01/14/how-to-change-your-w-4-withholding-to-maximize-your-tax-refund/>.

The post Benefits of a Positive Paternity Test: 3 Ways to Save on Taxes appeared first on IDENTIGENE.

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IDENTIGENE by Homedna Identigene - 5M ago

So many important decisions rest on DNA results, and participants are often understandably on edge during the process. A common question in paternity testing is, “Can a paternity test be wrong?” Once a report is issued, the results are not always what participants expected (or hoped), and that’s when this question usually arises.  So can a paternity test be “wrong?” Here are some answers.

When Paternity Fraud or Father-Identification Mistakes Happen

According to World Net Daily, 30% of positive paternity claims in the United States are thought to be wrong. This means when a mother names a man as the biological father of her child, up to 1 out of 3 of those claims are incorrect, either because the mother is trying to commit paternity fraud or she’s simply mistaken.

What Does Paternity Fraud Look Like?

Here are some ways paternity-test results can be manipulated so that they don’t indicate the correct biological father:

  • The mother can submit the DNA for a known child of the possible father as the DNA of the child in question in order to get a positive result
  • The possible father submits his buddy’s DNA as his own in order to get a negative result
  • After DNA is collected from the right people, the mother or possible father tampers with the mailing envelopes and submits DNA for different people
Can’t the Lab Catch Fraud?

In some cases, fraud or mistakes are easy to catch. If a child is supposed to be male, but a female’s sample is submitted, for example; in these cases, an accredited lab will suspend testing right away and start asking questions and/or request new samples. But the lab can’t always catch fraud, especially for at-home tests.  This is because DNA collection is in the hands of the customer and is not supervised by a disinterested witness. This is also the reason why reports for at-home tests are not court-admissible results: because there’s no way to verify whether the DNA the lab is given actually belongs to who the customer says it does.

Example: For at-home testing, the lab is answering this question: Is Possible Father A the biological father of Child A? If DNA for someone else is submitted as if it belonged to Possible Father A, then the answer may be very different that what it should have been, couldn’t it? The results from the lab are actually scientifically correct based on the samples provided, but if DNA for someone other than Possible Father A’s was submitted—which is fraud— the report could show a false negative for him even if he really is the father.

SOLUTION: When doing an at-home paternity test, we recommend that all participants witness each other swabbing their cheeks and the child’s cheeks and sealing the swabs in the paper envelope. It’s also important to go to the post office as a group to drop off the mailing envelope, thereby preventing any post-DNA-collection tampering. If participants live in different states and there is reason to believe someone might want to monkey around with results, it might be wise to consider choosing a legal, witnessed test instead.

When Possible Fathers are Close Biological Relatives

When two alleged fathers are close biological relatives, they share a relatively large percentage of the same DNA.

  • Father/Son: 50%
  • Brothers: 25%
  • Uncle/Nephew: 25%
  • Grandfather/Grandson: 25%

Because of the shared DNA, when testing the minimum 16 DNA markers for paternity (HomeDNA IDENTIGENE tests a minimum of 20), there is a possibility that the man who is not the possible father could match the child being tested at every location. This scenario can create what is called a “false positive” result.

SOLUTION: Ideally, both possible fathers who share a close genetic link should test. But when only one man is available or willing to test, it is absolutely essential that the person ordering the test let the lab know before testing starts that there is another possible father who is a close relative of the man being tested and what the biological relationship is between the two men. This way, the lab can take this information into account as it does its analysis and generates a probability of paternity, plus it can test additional genetic markers if necessary in order to get conclusive and accurate results.

Why It’s Important to Choose the Right Lab for Testing

Like any other business, some labs are better than others. If you want to ensure results are correct for your paternity test, be sure to select one—like ours!—that maintains the highest standards of accreditation in the industry. Being accredited means that the lab’s practices and processes are held accountable by outside independent entities that come in regularly to do inspections and make sure everything’s kept on the up and up.  Our lab is actually the only one to have every paternity test performed twice—by independent teams—to ensure complete accuracy.

 About HomeDNA IDENTIGENE

HomeDNA IDENTIGENE has been a leader in high-quality affordable DNA paternity testing since 1993 and is the most popular choice offered at retail stores from coast to coast, including CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Walmart. With a test this important, it just makes good sense to go with the best.

The post Can a Paternity Test Be “Wrong?” appeared first on IDENTIGENE.

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Paternity testing can answer a lot of questions, but some of these questions are trickier to answer than others. Good examples are when DNA paternity testing involves twins, either as children or alleged parents. Identical twin fathers are by far the most difficult to detect due to their indistinguishable DNA samples; rarer cases, such as twin children with two different fathers, are much easier to solve despite their infrequent occurrence.

While reaching conclusive DNA test results when alleged fathers are identical twins is not impossible, the process is outrageously expensive and therefore cost-prohibitive for most folks. As medical advances in the field of genetic testing become more affordable and commonplace, it may become easier to answer these questions of paternity in the future. For now, those answers are fleeting.

Paternity test results with identical twins

There have been many cases in which the alleged fathers are identical twins. The DNA test results are almost always inconclusive since identical twins share almost identical sets of DNA.

Until recently, the consensus has been that identical twins share completely identical DNA, but recent studies show that isn’t necessarily true. Rather than looking at the standard 15 markers analyzed in today’s paternity tests, highly-advanced and impossibly-expensive DNA tests that analyze the entire genome sequence-as many as six billion markers-are able to identify at least a single mutation in one of the identical twins’ genetics that has been passed on to the child (Sapiro). However, DNA tests that are presently accessible to the public do not analyze enough markers to distinguish the two, presenting a serious problem in court cases to establish paternity for child support.

Hopefully, next-generation technology will be able to identify the differences between identical DNA in a way that’s affordable as well as accessible to the general public. Until then, paternity involving identical twins remains unsolvable.

Fraternal twins and different DNA test results

Unlike identical twins, it is possible for fraternal twins to have different fathers, though these cases are extremely rare.

This occurs through a process known as superfecundation, which is the fertilization of two or more eggs from separate acts of intercourse. Studies show that this is possible because the window of time in which a woman is fertile can span from five to seven days (Weller). While an egg only remains fertile for 12-48 hours, sperm can live in a woman’s body for four or five days, thereby expanding the possible time of fertilization (Wikipedia).

This process can only occur with fraternal twins. It is not possible for identical twins to have two different fathers since their identical genetics can only occur when one sperm fertilizes one egg and the resulting cell divides (Worland).

Superfecundation is assumed to happen more often with just one father; however, tests are only able to detect its occurrence when there are two different fathers. The latter group makes up for approximately 2% of paternity suits involving fraternal twins in the United States, generally drawing a lot of attention from the media due to its rarity (Worland).

Even though testing for superfecundation is rarer than administering paternity tests to identical twin fathers, it is a far easier mystery to solve. Provided the fathers in question are not identical twins themselves, modern-day DNA paternity tests can conclusively determine whether fraternal twins have different fathers.

Answering questions of paternity in cases involving fraternal twins

Court cases involving fraternal twin children with different fathers can be resolved with a legal paternity test without complications in the DNA testing process. However, you can always make sure ahead of time with an at-home paternity test from HomeDNA IDENTIGENE.

Do you have fraternal twins and suspect there may be two different fathers? Get the answers you need today with our paternity test kit. Click here to learn how it works.

How much does it cost to do a paternity test with twins? Although you can use one IDENTIGENE kit to test twin children, you’re still asking two separate questions:
  1. Is the man tested the biological father of Twin A, and
  2. Is the man tested the biological father of Twin B?
Therefore, although you’re using one kit for the test, two separate lab fees are required. If you’re testing twins, it’s easiest to contact us directly to pay and let us set up the test for you. Just call 888-404-4363 during business hours.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter! If you have questions about paternity tests or other DNA testing services, please contact our  Client Support Center at 888-404-4363, Mon-Fri  from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM Eastern Time. Our friendly, expert representatives are ready and happy to help. Get answers anytime by visiting our Help Center

Sources Sapiro, Anne. “Understanding Genetics.” Understanding Genetics. Stanford University, 5 Aug. 2014. Web. 21 July 2015.

“Superfecundation.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 21 July 2015.

Weller, Chris. “NJ Twins Have Two Different Fathers, Court Rules.” Medical Daily. Medical Daily, 08 May 2015. Web. 21 July 2015.

Worland, Justin. “The Science of How Women Can Have Twins With 2 Different Fathers.” Time. Time, 8 May 2015. Web. 21 July 2015.

The post The Fascinating Trouble with Twins and DNA Paternity Tests appeared first on IDENTIGENE.

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IDENTIGENE by Homedna Identigene - 9M ago

It really wasn’t that long ago when even the simplest DNA testing was unaffordable for most people. How times have changed! Thanks to improvements in the science of and technology involved in analysis plus competition in the marketplace, most DNA tests have become extremely affordable. So how much does a DNA test cost? Here are some answers.

What Do DNA Testing Costs Include?

 Generally speaking, there are two components of any DNA test that help determine DNA testing costs:

  1. The price of DNA collection materials
  2. The fee associated with the testing process once samples are submitted to the lab

What does this look like in real life?

If you buy your kit in a retail store, you’ll most likely:

  • Pay the store for the kit
  • Pay a fee to the lab once you’re ready to test and submit samples for analysis

 If you buy your kit online, you’ll most likely:

  • Pay a single fee that combines the kit and lab fee together
  • There may be an additional fee for shipping your kit
What Changes the Costs of DNA Tests?

How results are going to be used: With a paternity test, for example, the cost will be higher for a legal test with court-admissible results than it is for an at-home test.

What is included in the test: Generally, the more results you receive, the higher the cost. For example, if you do a DNA test for ancestry, but that test also includes information about fitness, food sensitivities, and more, you’re probably going to pay more for it than you would for a straight ancestry-only test.

The company’s business model: If you do a DNA test for ancestry with a company that also sells separate monthly subscription services (where you get access to public databases or can get “matched” with other possible relatives, for example), then you’re going to pay less for that test than you would if you bought an ancestry test from a company that keeps all data private. Why? Because the company that sells subscription services makes most of its income with those services and not by selling individual tests.

Where you test: If you order a skin-care DNA test through a dermatologist or aesthetician, chances are good it’s going to cost a lot more (sometimes hundreds more!) than it would if you buy the test kit at a store or order it directly from the lab. The reason is, that “middleman” doctor or beauty professional needs to get paid their cut, which can add substantially to the price of the test.

 How Much Does a DNA Paternity Test Cost?

A paternity test done at an accredited lab can cost anywhere from $89 to $200 when using an at-home kit purchased from a retailer. The price of the kit in stores generally ranges from $14.99 to $24.99. If the paternity test is a legal one for court-admissible results, then the price bumps up to from $300 to $500, because you pay a per-person fee to the DNA collector who will be supervising the test.  The price of the kit is included in the cost of a legal paternity test.

How Much Does a DNA Test Cost at the Pharmacy or Other Store?

The cost for a paternity-test kit is approximately $24.99, while the price of other types of kits such as an ancestry test can cost $25 to 30. Keep in mind that this is only what you pay to the store for your kit. You’ll need to pay an additional fee to the lab for the actual testing process.

How Much Does a Prenatal DNA Test Cost?

Non-invasive prenatal DNA paternity tests are relatively new to the market as compared to postnatal ones.  A prenatal test is a safe option for a woman who wants to determine the paternity of a child, but doesn’t want to wait till after the baby is born. The cost for this type of test ranges from $800 to $2,000. Some companies will offer payment plans to help make the price more manageable. Beware of prenatal DNA tests that are on the lower end of this range—they may not be performed at accredited laboratories.

 How Much Does It Cost to Take a DNA Test for Ancestry?

There are a lot of companies out there right now offering DNA tests for ancestry, and the cost varies just about as much as what each tests offers. The cost of an ancestry test ranges from $39 for a raw-data DNA upload to a website (no kit required) to $199 for comprehensive ancestry tests as well as tests that also offer health information. A quick online search can help you research different companies’ specific costs.

Why Should You Choose HomeDNA IDENTIGENE?

HomeDNA IDENTIGENE has been a leader in high-quality affordable DNA paternity testing since 1993 and is the most popular choice offered at retail stores from coast to coast, including CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Walmart. With a test this important, it just makes good sense to go with the best.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter! If you have questions about paternity tests or other DNA testing services, please contact our Client Support Center at 888-404-4363, Mon-Fri  from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM Eastern Time. Our friendly, expert representatives are ready and happy to help. Get answers anytime by visiting our Help Center.  

The post How Much Does a DNA Test Cost? appeared first on IDENTIGENE.

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Is Paternity Testing without the Father Possible?

Customers often ask us how to do paternity testing without the father or if it’s even possible. There are many reasons why a possible father may not be available for DNA testing, such as he’s incarcerated, out of the country with the military, or simply unwilling. The good news is, there are ways to determine paternity without him. Testing for paternity without the father requires the participation of some of the father’s immediate family members such as his parents, siblings, or other known children and, as always, it is helpful to include the child’s biological mother in the DNA test as well. Click here to find out why testing the mother is important .

Family-reconstruction DNA tests such as those listed below can be used to determine paternity but keep in mind that they do not always produce test results that are as conclusive as a paternity test. The lab fee is also more than for a straight paternity test, since much more analysis is required.

Bottom line: Test with the father if you are able to! Your results are likely to be more conclusive and your test is more cost-effective.

In a paternity test, the DNA of the father, child and child’s biological mother (optional) are evaluated to determine if the alleged father is indeed the child’s father. When the father is unavailable for testing, other paternal family members’ DNA along with the child and the child’s biological mothers’ can help to determine paternity.

Grandparentage DNA Test for Paternity

The best DNA testing option to determine paternity without the father is using the DNA of the father’s parents, or the child’s paternal grandparents. In addition, the child needs to submit a DNA sample and the child’s biological mother should do likewise. This test gives the most conclusive results out of any family-reconstruction DNA test in helping to determine paternity. Although you may be able to discover paternity using only one grandparent’s DNA, results are more conclusive with both.

Avuncular DNA Test for Paternity

Another option for finding the paternity of a child without the father is using the DNA of a full sibling or siblings of the father; or in other words, the child’s aunt(s) or uncle(s). Like the grandparentage test, the child’s and child’s biological mother’s DNA are necessary for getting the most conclusive test results.

Siblingship DNA Test for Paternity

Your final option is a siblingship test. This test requires the DNA of another known child of the possible father. In this case, the mother’s DNA  greatly helps with receiving conclusive results.

If you find yourself needing to find the paternity of a child but the father isn’t available, you have other options. Other family members’ DNA of the alleged father can be used to find out paternity, and we can help identify what test will help give you the most conclusive results.8

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter! If you have questions about paternity tests or other DNA testing services, please contact our Client Support Center at 888-404-4363, Mon-Fri  from 9 AM to 6 PM Eastern Time. Our friendly, expert representatives are ready and happy to help. Get answers anytime by visiting our Help Center

The post Paternity Testing without the Father appeared first on IDENTIGENE.

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NOTE: The rules for every state may vary, and we do not give legal advice. If you have questions, we highly recommend you contact your state’s department of vital records or a family-law attorney. 

There are several reasons for wanting to the change the name of the father on a child’s birth certificate: You may have discovered the man listed is not the child’s true biological father, an alleged father may want to establish a legal relationship with the child, or perhaps you simply suspect the man on the certificate is not the biological father and are curious what the process of amending vital records might entail. Whatever the case, changing the parentage on a birth certificate is a complex and time-consuming process that should not be taken lightly.

Here’s what you need to know about changing the parentage on a birth certificate.

Presumption of paternity

A birth certificate is completed and issued at the time of a child’s birth. If you are not certain of the child’s biological father at this time, you can opt to leave the father’s name empty and add it later once you have taken a paternity test, which does not require having to go to court in most states. The mother can always take a non-invasive prenatal DNA paternity test so that this information is known before the child is born. (This type of prenatal paternity test can be performed as early as eight weeks.)

In most states, both individuals are presumed to be the parents if a couple is married. This is commonly known as ‘presumption of paternity,’ as the man is automatically registered as the biological father of the child without DNA verification. If marital infidelity is suspected, a legal paternity test can be taken and presented as evidence in court.

How to change the father on a birth certificate

In order to change the father listed on a birth certificate, you must go through a lengthy process to legally pronounce an individual as a biological parent and legal guardian. This is known as adjudicating parentage.

The process begins with submitting a petition to your state judiciary requesting to adjudicate parentage. Your state should have an official form for adjudicating parentage that requests information such as:

  • The name(s)of the child or children whose parentage you are trying to amend
  • Whether the child(ren) currently has(have) a legally-acknowledged/presumed father
  • Signature or proof of notice submitted to the new paternity registrant
  • If a legal DNA paternity test has been taken prior to filing the suit

Prior to submitting a petition to adjudicate parentage, you may want to consider taking a legal paternity test to speed up the process. While a home DNA paternity test performed for personal use will clarify the paternity of the child, in most cases it cannot be used as evidence in court. Legal paternity tests have specific requirements, such as the involvement of a third party collector to verify individuals’ identities and to serve as witness to prevent any fraudulent activity.

If your case is successful, the judge can issue an order to adjudicate parentage specifically outlining what changes to make on the birth certificate. This order is required with VS 21 applications for amending birth records. When you obtain the VS 21 application, be sure to include a certified copy of the court order with the original seal and court clerk signature (not the original document) to reduce the chances of your application being rejected. Photocopies or other unofficial documents will likely not be accepted. However, it is recommended to include a photocopy of the original birth certificate to expedite the process.

Once your application to amend birth records is accepted, you will have successfully completed all of the steps to change the father on the birth certificate. The average processing time for these changes is approximately two months, after which time the new birth certificate will reflect the correct parentage.

Important note about changing a child’s birth certificate

Keep in mind that even if a DNA paternity test determines that a man who is not on the birth certificate is the actual biological father, a court may not agree to change the name on the birth certificate while the child is still a minor. This is especially true if there is already a man listed on the birth certificate who has accepted legal responsibility for the child and is supporting the child. Ultimately, for a minor child, the decision is up to the court. This is why it’s extremely important for men who think they fathered a child to make a claim within the first two (2) years.

Getting a legal DNA paternity test

Changing the father on a child’s birth certificate can be difficult, but by taking a legal paternity test beforehand, you can eliminate a lot of unnecessary costs and waiting time.

IDENTIGENE legal paternity tests are fast, simple, and affordable. Just call to set up a collection appointment, bring proper ID verification, and get your results in two business days after the samples arrive at our laboratory.

Take the first step of changing the father’s name on your child’s birth certificate with a legal paternity test from IDENTIGENE. Learn more about legal paternity testing in this blog post or click here to arrange for a legal paternity test now.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter! If you have questions about paternity tests or other DNA testing services, please contact our  Client Support Center at 800-34-9583, Mon-Fri  from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM Eastern Time. Our friendly, expert representatives are ready and happy to help. Get answers anytime by visiting our Help Center.

Sources

“Adjudication Clauses, Rules and Procedures.” Construction Adjudication (2004): 113-40. California Department of Public Health. Web. 22 June 2015 <http://www.cdph.ca.gov/certlic/birthdeathmar/Documents/AdjudicationPAMPHLET-(01-14)-MERGED.pdf&gt;

“Establishing Paternity and Legal Paternity Testing.” IDENTIGENE. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 June 2015 <http://dnatesting.com/establishing-paternity-and-legal-paternity-testing/>.

“Paternity Testing: Can I Change the Name on the Birth Certificate?” Home DNA Direct. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 June 2015 <http://www.homednadirect.com/dna-news/can-i-change-the-name-on-the-birth-certificate-with-paternity-testing.html>

The post How to Change the Father on your Child’s Birth Certificate appeared first on IDENTIGENE.

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