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How is paternity testing conducted?

Some residents of Massachusetts may wish to learn more about how paternity testing is conducted in the state. Cases in which the paternity of a child is disputed may be resolved through genetic testing to determine parentage.

In order to obtain paternity testing, it is sufficient to provide an affidavit by a party stipulating that both the mother and the putative father engaged in intercourse during the period where conception is thought to have occurred. If the results of such testing indicates with a probability of 97 percent or greater that the potential father is indeed the biological father, the court will issue a temporary child support order. In cases where paternity is disputed, the court may decide to order additional testing from either the same laboratory or a different one.

Some courts may draw inferences from a party's refusal to undergo genetic testing, and may thereafter make a presumption of paternity without necessarily having the results available. The costs of such testing will generally be borne by the parties involved, but in some case, both the mother and potential father will be required to pay for testing. However, it's possible in some instances to arrange for the potential father to reimburse the mother's costs if the test results are positive.

Those who find themselves in these types of situations can benefit from the assistance of an attorney. An attorney may be able to help someone involved in a paternity dispute to present evidence of their case against the other party. If paternity is established, an attorney might be able to expedite the receipt of any maintenance that is ordered and potentially aid in any further complications that may arise from a child maintenance order.

Source: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts General Laws, "Chapter 209C Section 17 - Genetic marker tests; affidavit; refusal to submit to tests; costs", accessed on Jan. 9, 2015

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