Looking for a paternity test during divorce? A common topic of new clients is whether or not they should even be involved in the family law proceedings their ex has served them with. Often the subject matter is the custody, access and support of a new born or young child. While some clients are critical of paternity or DNA testing or think it is just something that you see on daytime talk shows, the results of such tests can have drastic consequences on a family law file.
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Paternity test during divorce
Technology has progressed over the last 20 years. Paternity tests can now determine the likelihood of the biological parents of a child to within .001% clarity. The costs associated with such tests has also become more affordable. Many DNA companies charge less than $1,000.00 per test. It is amazing how the stigma of the topic remains in a number of family law cases. This stigma remains despite the reality of what the results may hold for both parties.
On one hand we have the mothers (this issue takes on a whole different set of challenges in the case of same sex couples and therefore for simplicities sake I will only be referring to heterosexual relationships) who may have doubts of who the biological father of their child is and would prefer to not have a certain potential father in the child’s life due to a number of reasons (potential abuse, poor parenting skills, substance issues etc.); on the other hand we have the fathers who may also have doubts about their status as the child’s biological father or fear that this is a sort of trap for support by their partner (as pessimistic as this may sound it has been known to happen).
While it is not a necessity to have a paternity test completed in Toronto family law proceeding, either party can request that a test be completed at any time during the proceeding. Of course it makes sense to have the test completed as soon as possible as a negative result can lead to the termination of a family law proceeding in short order and save both parties considerable legal costs.
DNA Tests are important
Another reason to have a DNA test completed as soon as possible revolves around the term loco parentis. This term can be used in the court if a party is not the biological parent of a child. If they have stood in the place and acted as the biological parent would have acted, they can then be responsible for the financial support and general wellbeing of the child.
If a party is not the biological parent but has acted as one they can argue for joint custody. They can also ask for parenting time with the child. Often times step parents will use loco parentis in their court documents.
A party is not granted the status of loco parentis as a default. Typically timelines and total involvement with the child will be considered by the judge overseeing the case. If you have any doubts regarding your status as a child’s biological parent, a DNA test can help. It could provide a quick solution to long term, drawn out and highly emotional legal matters down the road.
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