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DNA testing plays conclusive role in establishing parentage

DNA testing has a good track record of identifying the father of a child. With an accuracy rate of almost 100 percent, California courts recognize the results as valid when making rulings about child support, visitation and custody. In cases in which a man questions his role as the father of a child, especially if the woman wants him to pay child support, a family court might order a DNA test.

For legal purposes, the testing must be performed by a certified facility like a health department, hospital or clinic that follows chain of custody procedures. The test is noninvasive. A swab rubbed inside a person's cheek collects cells for the test. Technicians will analyze the samples twice, and a qualified lab director will review the results for accuracy of procedure.

Legal actions requiring this test arise when a party does not want to acknowledge a relationship with a child. Some famous examples include rock star Mick Jagger and Steve Jobs. Jagger initially resisted a claim by a former lover that he had fathered a daughter, but he later acknowledged the daughter and settled out of court. The results of a DNA test prompted Jobs to accept a daughter and contribute to her life financially.

When a person needs to assert a legal claim involving another parent, an attorney could provide advice and courtroom representation. For example, a person who needs help enforcing child support orders could ask an attorney to perform services such as alerting an agency to a parent's unmet financial obligation or petitioning a court to enforce an order. A court might take actions like garnishing wages or seizing a tax refund to apply to the amounts in arrears.

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