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The importance of DNA tests with child support disputes

As some Texas families find out when they begin a child support case, a DNA test might be required to settle the case. A DNA paternity or maternity test often means the difference between a parent and child receiving support from the non-custodial parent or not.

In child support cases, a DNA test might be needed if the parents were not married when the child was conceived or when the child was born; by law, the father is considered an "alleged father" until either his paternity is legally established or he legally declares his paternity. This means that the alleged father's name does not have to be in the birth certificate. However, once this has been legally established, the father might be ordered to pay child support and might also be granted visitation or custody rights.

DNA tests might be voluntarily requested by parents, asked for by state child service agencies for their ongoing cases or ordered by a judge in a case. In the last two situations, DNA testing is often the key to resolving the situation. In many divorce and child support disputes, DNA tests are now required as part of the process. There are benefits to using DNA tests to establish and prove maternity and paternity. In addition to helping with the resolution of cases, paternity confirmation has allowed some fathers to develop relationships with children they had not previously recognized as their own.

Child support cases can be delicate and emotional. For parents involved in these disputes, the aid, guidance and support of a lawyer with family law experience might help ease the tension and allow the parent to focus more on their and their children's emotional journey. A lawyer may offer legal advice and representation as well as explain legislation and the steps involved in the process.

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