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When DNA tests may be ordered to establish paternity

Unmarried parents in Maryland may need to get DNA tests in order to establish paternity for the purposes of child support, child custody and visitation. When parents are unmarried when the children are born, the men are not automatically deemed to be the fathers. Instead, they are known as alleged fathers until their paternity is established.

When unmarried mothers need to establish paternity in order to get child support, they may file motions with the court requesting that a DNA test be ordered. DNA will be collected from both the alleged father and the child and sent to a laboratory. If the father is shown by DNA testing to be the father, the mother can request a child support order. If the test shows that the man is not the biological father of the child, no child support order will be issued.

Men may also establish paternity by legally acknowledging that they are the fathers of their children. Couples may also choose to obtain DNA tests on their own to check paternity and then have the father acknowledge his paternity. Establishing paternity may also help men to establish their own custody and visitation rights so that they can build relationships with their children.

Unmarried parents who want to establish paternity might want to talk to experienced family law attorneys. Lawyers may help their clients with seeking and securing DNA tests or with obtaining legal acknowledgments of paternity. They may also work to negotiate support agreements with their clients' former partners to avoid a protracted court process. When child support is ordered, the payor must keep up with the payments or risk being held in contempt of court. Lawyers may help clients with seeking to hold deadbeat parents in contempt of court so that enforcement actions can be instituted to compel the payment of the child support that is owed.

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