A blood test is not always necessary when determing paternity. Blood tests and generic tests may be used for additional evidence to determine paternity. The laboratory used to establish paternity should be accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). The AABB is an association of blood banks, transfusion and tranplantation services. In addtion to other services, the AABB administers the Parentage Testing Accreditation Program that has established standards for parentage testing. If the lab you use to establish paternity is not accredited by the AABB ask where they received their accreditation and inform your Friend of the Court caseworker or attorney. Accreditation may be different depending on the state you live in, check with the Friend of the Court to see who accredits paternity laboratories in your state.
The most common method used today for establishing paternity is DNA testing. DNA testing is obtained by rubbing cotton tipped swabs on the inside of the cheek or extracting DNA from the blood and other tissues. Drug use, illness or disease will not affect the DNA testing used to establish paternity. DNA testing can be done no matter the age of the child and test results may take two weeks or longer. DNA testing is 99.9% accurate in determining that a man is not the father of a child. Paternity testing can be done without both parents. If a parent is believed to be deceased, paternity testing can be done through a blood or tissue sample from the coroner’s office or through testing appropriate family members.
Establish a support order
Non-custodial parents may establish a support order and not wait for the custodial parent to begin the process. A legal support order indicates the amount of the obligation and how it is to be paid. Even if the mother and father are getting along, the situation may change later. It is imperative that paternity be established as soon as possible. If the custodial and non-custodial parent comes to an agreement of what will be paid for child support and it does not coincide with the state requirement they may get a notarized statement saying what they agree to accept from one another. This statement should be filed with the Friend of the Court. Parents should understand however, that either of them may request that the statement be changed at any time (called a modification), based on their circumstances. The Friend of the Court will review the situation and make a decision.
If a parent remarries or has another family to support, that parent’s responsibility to the first family does not go away. The child/children are still entitled to child support.
When the non-custodial parent is in the military and refuses to make child support payments, the Friend of the Court will obtain an Income Withholding Order which allows the military to take money out of his/her paycheck.
Remember, custody and parenting time (child support visitation) are enforced under seperate orders; therefore child visitation should in no way be attached to whether or not child support is being paid or how much child support is being paid.
Each state is responsible for enforcing support orders across state lines through the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). Child support arrears can be taken from federal and state income tax refunds. Check with your local Friend of the Court or caseworker for details about this service.
Review the support order yearly
Take the initiative to increase or decrease the support order every year. Being a committed responsible parent can take on many forms. If you are not able to pay support due to lost wages, illness, etc. inform the Friend of the Court and the custodial parent immediately. You may request decreasing the amount of child support you pay or provide other forms of support: providing care for your children while the custodial parent works, purchasing groceries or clothing for the children, etc. Remember doing something no matter how small is better than doing nothing at all. Gift certificates, clothing, gift cards, or gas cards, are all items that can assist the custodial parent in supporting your child’s well being. Keep a record of any funds you send or items you purchase. This makes it possible to prove to the Friend of the Court that although you have fallen on hard times, you have continued to try to support your children.