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Facts about DNA testing and child support

Child support in Virginia is determined by a certain mathematical formula, but sometimes complicating factors can arise. When the paternity of a child is in question, DNA tests could be required to accurately identify the biological parent.

When a baby is born, the parents can voluntarily agree to the identity of the father. But when this is not possible, DNA testing might be required in order to establish paternity for the purpose of child support. DNA testing today is nearly 100 percent accurate. It has become common for courts to require DNA testing to establish paternity and even maternity in some cases, for example, in cases involving an adopted child or a surrogate mother.

Taking a DNA test involves providing a sample from a swab that is swiped inside the cheek. When a DNA test is ordered by a court or government agency, the people who are required to be tested will have the test done by professionals at a certified facility, such as a hospital or medical office. Home DNA tests are available for those who are not legally required to have a DNA test but who wish to take one for their own knowledge. These tests usually cost less than certified facility tests, but they will not hold up in court.

Establishing paternity and maternity ensures that each parent is responsible for providing for their child when the parents do not live together. By law, both legal parents are expected to provide financial support for their child, regardless of who has physical custody. The establishment of biological parenthood is a step towards determining legal parenthood and is important for the child as well.

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