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3 ways to establish paternity

If a child is born to a married couple, the law typically presumes that the husband is the father of the baby. Of course, this is not always the case, and for unmarried couples, there can also be questions about the paternity of a child. In certain legal situations, it becomes necessary to establish the paternity of a child, and there are several ways to do so.

When paternity is unknown or disputed, it is important for the putative father to take the steps necessary to determine or prove whether he is in fact the biological father of the child. The following are three of the most common ways fathers can legally establish paternity. 

1. Birth certificate

If a birth certificate declares the father and he signs it, this is a legally binding qualification of paternity. In the case that the father listed on a birth certificate is not truly the father of the child, another means of establishing paternity can contest it and potentially overturn it. In such circumstances, a person may use one of the following methods to do so.

2. DNA test

There are two ways to do DNA testing--either before or after the birth of the child. According to Fox News, both methods are about 99.99 percent accurate. Typically, a lab compares a sample from the child with a sample collected from the putative father. If the DNA between the two samples is a match, it confirms paternity.

3. Court order

Sometimes, the person who the mother believes to be the father of a child is unwilling to provide a sample in order to undergo paternity testing. In such circumstances, a court order may be necessary in order to obtain the necessary sample from the individual. If he continues to decline, he may be prosecuted for violation of the court order. 

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