People in California planning to establish paternity for their children may want to consider a DNA test to assist in child support and custody matters. A paternity test can help to secure child support for a child whose parentage is unknown or disputed.

Because DNA testing is nearly 100 percent accurate, it is clearly possible to determine with certainty whether a man is or is not the father of a child. When a mother and father are not married at the time of a child’s conception or birth, there is no automatic presumption of being the legal father of the child. The father’s name does not need to be listed on the birth certificate, and he will not have an obligation to pay child support or a right to visitation or custody unless recognized legally as the father.

A man can voluntarily acknowledge that he is the parent of the child. In disputed cases, however, a DNA paternity test can add a great deal of certainty to the process. It can help state agencies or a court to issue a paternity order. This kind of order means that the father will be legally recognized, required to pay child support and have the opportunity to seek custody and visitation of his child.

People in a child support dispute can often benefit from a DNA paternity test. It provides conclusive results to questions about parentage that can arise in a lawsuit, and it benefits the child as well in terms of being able to receive an inheritance or things such as governmental death benefits.