Child Support – Determining the Biological Father

If an alleged father denies that he is the biological father, a court action is needed to determine parentage. When this happens, the court may order genetic testing. If the testing proves the man is the father of the child, the court may order him to pay all or part of the genetic testing fees. If the county child support office sets up the testing and the man is not the biological father of the child, he does not have to pay for the testing.

Genetic testing

Sometimes parents want proof that the man is the biological father of the child before he is named the legal father. If either parent is unsure about who is the biological father of the child, request genetic testing.

Genetic testing requires swab collections from the mother, father, and child. Sometimes blood is used. Cotton swabs are rubbed firmly against the inside of each person’s cheek for cell collection or blood is drawn from the arm of each person. Most samples can be taken anytime after the child’s birth. Samples and testing are important if results are to be used in court. Test results usually take a few weeks.

Genetic testing can show that a man is not the biological father of the child or it can show a greater than 99 percent probability that the man is the biological father. With the results, the court may establish parentage.

To get tested, parents can talk to hospital staff about genetic testing before or at the time of the child’s birth, contact their county child support office, or contact a lab directly.

If a county child support office sets up genetic testing and the testing is done at a designated laboratory, the county child support office initially pays the cost.


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