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What is a paternity test?

12054218_S.jpgThe birth of a child can be a wonderful time in the life of the new baby's parents. While most Illinois residents embrace the opportunity to raise children and grow their families, others may face serious and even traumatic legal issues if they are uncertain of their roles in the children's lives. Particularly, men who are not certain if they are the biological fathers of children born to their spouses and partners may question what role, if any, they should place in the lives of the children.

In order to determine a man's legal rights and options with regard to a new baby, he may choose to or may be asked to submit to a paternity test. A paternity test is an evaluation of a man's genetic material that compares the collected specimen to one collected from the child in question.

There are different types of paternity tests that require different types of genetic material from test subjects. One common form of paternity test requires a man and a child to submit to cheek swabbing. This involves rubbing a cotton swab on the inside of the test subjects' cheeks and collecting cells for evaluation. Through the collection of cheek cells the test may be run by comparing the DNA of the presumptive father to that of the child and determining the likelihood of a match.

A man who submits to a blood test may not get the information he wants with regard to paternity. That is because blood tests may shed light on the blood type of a child and a man but do not confirm that shared blood typing means a genetic match. Readers with further questions about paternity testing should discuss their questions with their family law attorneys for case-specific advice.

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