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Understanding mandatory paternity testing

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Identifying the mother of a child is rarely difficult. Knowing who fathered the child, though, can be considerably more challenging. Still, for many different reasons, establishing paternity is important. After all, the health and well-being of the child may depend on correctly classifying his or her father. 

In Georgia, there are a variety of ways to establish paternity. Specifically, you may do so through your marriage, an affidavit or a court order. Sometimes, though, Georgia law mandates genetic testing to determine if an individual is a child’s father. 

The law

Since the middle of 2015, Georgia law has required paternity testing for individuals in some child custody matters. That is, if there is no established paternity, you can expect to undergo genetic testing as part of your custody case. The Division of Child Support Services oversees paternity testing in the Peach State. 

The method

Usually, genetic testing is a quick process. If you have a court order requiring you to undergo a paternity test, you must submit a DNA sample. The child and his or her mother also must submit samples. Usable DNA samples may come from either a blood pinprick or a cheek swab. After you provide your sample, technicians in a laboratory compare DNA from each parent to the child’s genetic makeup. The results tell you with virtual certainty whether you are the father of the child. 

The cost

Mandatory genetic testing in Georgia costs $22 per person. As such, a complete test of all three samples totals $66. If the test determines that you are the father of the child, you are responsible for reimbursing the DCCS for the cost of the paternity test. If you are not the father, the child’s mother typically must pay for paternity testing. 

In many child custody cases, there is no dispute about paternity. Still, if you are facing a custody matter and have not yet established paternity, you can expect to go through court-ordered testing. By understanding the ins and outs of mandatory genetic testing, you can better plan for asserting your legal rights. 

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