How fast canI get a court ordered paternity test?

My parents are kicking me out I’m moving back to England in about 3 weeks to live with my grandmother. I have nowhere else to stay and no support or money. The father of my unborn child decided today that he was not the father and refused to take a paternity test even though he is the father and never suggested he had doubts until today.

Asked on November 26, 2011 under Family Law, Virginia


L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question.  While each state has their own guidelines for court ordered paternity tests, there are several general common guidelines.  First, most state courts will not order a paternity test until after the baby is born.  In order to perform a paternity test while a woman is still pregnant, the court would have to order the pregnant woman to undergo an amniocentesis.  While in some rare circumstances a court would order this procedure for purposes of paternity, it is not often done, because it causes a high health risk to the unborn fetus.  When the paternity test is completed after the baby has been born, there is no health risk involved for the baby, and involves only a cotton swab to the mouth, which is painless. 

Since child custody and paternity matters can be somewhat complicated, it may be easier to have the assistance of an attorney who specializes in these matters.  Even though you may not be able to financial afford an attorney at this time, you can contact a legal aid center in your area who will assign an attorney to work on this matter “pro bono.”  This essentially means that the attorney will volunteer his/her time to help you. 

It is likely that after you, maybe with the assistance of an attorney, have completed all of the necessary paperwork for a paternity test, the court will order the paternity test, because courts try to ensure that fathers financially assist with supporting their children. 
However, since many courts are behind with their current caseload, you may have to wait some time in between filing the paperwork, getting the court order, obtaining the DNA paternity test, and then have the court order support.


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