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Determining paternity

Most current and prospective parents living in Michigan want to provide for their children. There are, however, situations in which one or both parents question a child's paternity. In such instances, a DNA test can provide clarity and determine whether a male spouse or partner has legal rights and responsibilities to a child.

Until a few decades ago, blood tests were not always a reliable indicator of paternity. In fact, blood type tests could only rule out a man as a child's father. DNA testing has become much more sophisticated, however, and it is now possible to determine or exclude paternity even before a child is born.

One way to verify or exclude paternity before the birth of a child is for the pregnant woman to undergo genetic testing through amniocentesis or chorionic villi sampling. However, these invasive tests are not usually routinely performed on healthy, younger women, because they both carry with them some risks to the pregnancy.

Instead, a noninvasive test can be performed to determine paternity. A blood sample is taken from the woman, and the fetal DNA in her blood can be compared to a sample provided by the man who questions if he is the child's father. While the cost of these tests is not usually covered by health insurance, many individuals are willing to cover the cost because they genuinely want to clarify the father's identity.

Individuals who are concerned about paternity issues may benefit from speaking with an experienced attorney. The lawyer can review the client's case and make recommendations regarding obtaining DNA testing as well as negotiating an agreement regarding child custody and visitation rights if paternity has been confirmed.

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