Genetic Testing and Parentage Suits
We have all heard of the term genetic testing, and maybe you even saw instances of it being used on television in various shows and movies. It can be some pretty interesting stuff, but how does it work within the framework of parentage suits? That is the focus of this short blog.
Simply put, genetic testing analyzes a person’s genetic markers to determine who is, or is not, a child’s biological parent. Any party can ask the court to order genetic testing, and it can play a pivotal role in a parentage suit due to its extremely high level of accuracy and reliability. In complex parentage suits, it can and has settled many a dispute.
Genetic testing can be requested of one or more of the following persons:
- Alleged or presumed father
- Other relatives (man’s parents, brothers, sisters or other children, other relatives)
- Twin brother
- Dead person
Keep in mind that if a child’s paternity has already been legally determined, the court can’t order genetic testing unless the petitioner has timely filed a challenge to the paternity. If the court grants a motion for genetic testing, the court must order the child and other designated individuals to submit to genetic testing. Conversely, if a motion for genetic testing is denied, the court must issue an order adjudicating the presumed father to be the child’s father.
Per the Texas Family Code, it is a third-degree felony for a person to alter, destroy, conceal, fabricate or falsify genetic evidence in a parentage suit, including inducing another person to provide a specimen with the intent to affect the outcome of a suit.
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