Paternity Testing: The Single Parent’s Need for Legal Guidance

Paternity of a child is not always as easy to determine as people would like. The test may become necessary even when one of the parents has no doubts. Either parent may deny their role out of fear, anger, or for many other reasons. A paternity test can prove helpful for some, but it can also add legal concerns. Learn how legal guidance can help parents go through this complicated process.

Possible Unexpected Results

The man who proves to be the father may not be the one expected. If a paternity test proves the father is not the husband, the issue could lead to complications like a divorce. It is also possible for testing to not provide an accurate response. Home testing kits rely on people performing them correctly, and not every medical office has the same quality of processing.

Parents that hire legal representatives can gain court orders for testing to take place through a facility the court trusts and accepts. The results become court-admissible, so they are useful in divorce proceedings and other hearings. The guidance of an attorney can extend beyond the paternity test so mothers know what steps they should take next.

Potential Custody Issues

Custody battles may occur once one of the parents has proof of the father’s identity. Parents who have an attorney ready before the test takes place are in a better position to protect their custodial rights. It may be beneficial to make the first step and hire an attorney so they can order the test and begin custody planning before the potential father starts the process for himself.

Planning early allows consideration for acceptable arrangements for custody. The parent can get the help they need from their attorney to create several options to present to the other parent. Early research gives a legal team the time to gather arrest records and other evidence of safety concerns that may exist for the child concerning their father or paternal grandparents.

Preparations for Support

Child support considerations can also cause single parents to consider paternity testing. Not all single parents need additional financial help, so it is not always worth the time and effort to worry about the test.  However, some can only pay the bills and cover all the expenses of raising a child with contributions from the other parent.

Legal assistance can help parents to manage child support cases as well. In Arizona, parents only pay child support if they have the ability. The court uses a self-support reserve test. The test was designed to ensure that the person paying child support will have enough money to also cover their own basic needs.

The self-support reserve means the parent must earn an income that is at least 80 percent of the current minimum wage for a full-time job. The court reviews the income at the time of the request for support and not what the parent made when the child was born.

An attorney can explain child support laws and the potential amount possible for the parent to receive in child support payments. The payments depend on the income of both parents with some considerations for children with special needs and other situations. The parent can make an informed decision about whether to pursue paternity testing and child support.

Paternity testing helps with even more than support and custody issues; it can give mothers access to family medical histories for their children. A child may become eligible for family military benefits or gain inheritance rights. At the law offices of DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, we can help you decide if paternity testing will benefit you and your child. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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