DNA Paternity Testing

One day, Edward received an unexpected visit. It was from a process server, who served him with legal papers. The papers stated that a former girlfriend of Edward's was suing him for child support. According to the papers, Edward was the father of her six-year-old son, Bryce.

Edward was stunned. He could not help but wonder whether the child was really his, or whether paternity fraud was involved. Although he was willing to help if the child was his, he was worried that this was simply a tactic by his former girlfriend to get some money. A paternity test would resolve whether Edward was the father, but will a court order that a paternity test be done?

A paternity test uses DNA, normally from blood samples, to determine whether the presumed father is the biological father. This is the same DNA testing that is used to catch criminals by the police.

Canada has recently seen a large increase in paternity testing. It has become so common that one firm has set up billboards in Toronto that advertise their paternity testing services. There are several reasons for this popularity. Modern DNA testing is a lot cheaper than previous blood-type testing, costing $600.00 to $800.00. It can be completed more quickly, normally in a few days. Much smaller blood samples are needed, and the mother need not be tested. Finally, the accuracy of DNA testing is normally more than 99%.

In his circumstances, Edward can apply to the court for leave to obtain blood tests for the use of determining paternity, and to submit the results into evidence. Generally, a court will grant leave for blood tests if parentage is an issue in the case. This is because the court is trying to ascertain the truth. Given that modern paternity testing with DNA is so accurate, ordering a test often the best way for the court to resolve the issue. However, the granting of leave is not automatic, and will not be allowed if the court believes that Edward is simply using the paternity testing to delay matters.

If Edward or Bryce is unwilling to submit to the court-ordered blood tests, they cannot be found in contempt of court. This is because the court cannot actually force Edward or Bryce to submit to a blood test if they are unwilling to do so. Instead, the law simply allows a judge to permit the parties to obtain blood tests and submit them into evidence. However, if a person refuses to undergo blood testing, a court is entitled to drawn an adverse inference from this. In other words, if Edward refuses blood testing, it is likely that a court will find him to be Bryce's father. Similarly, if Bryce's mother refuses to allow Bryce to undergo blood testing, then it is likely that a court will find that Edward is not Bryce's father.

There have been several constitutional challenges to the laws allowing the courts to order blood tests. However, all of them have failed. The courts have found that ordering blood tests does not violate a person's privacy rights; a person's rights to life, liberty and security of the person; a person's right to security from unreasonable search and seizure; and a person's right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. This is because the court does not compel a person to submit to blood tests; rather the court only draws an adverse inference on a person's failure to do so.

If the paternity test reveals that Edward is not Bryce's father, Edward will not be required to pay child support. So, paternity testing can be used to protect men from paying child support for children that are not theirs.

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Continued at DNA Paternity Testing
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Further Resources

  1. Prenuptial Agreements - Marriage contract and cohabitation agreement information.
  2. Uncontested Divorce - Obtain an uncontested divorce or a separation agreement.
  3. Common Law Separation - Resource for common law couples
  4. French Site - French language family law web site.