For far too long, North Carolina prospective fathers have been confused about their rights, status and obligations. Many situations, including infidelity, short-term relationships or other concerns, can lead to uncertainty about whether a potential father has paternity of a child and therefore child support obligations and child access and custody rights. Historically, paternity testing was only possible following the birth of the child.
In general, DNA testing is used to evaluate paternity. DNA is taken from both the man and the child and compared in a lab to determine whether the man is the father. The most common type of paternity testing is a postnatal test, which takes place after the birth and can involve comparing samples from both the child and the potential father.
On the other hand, prenatal testing can help resolve a paternity dispute before the baby is born. In the past, invasive prenatal testing was the most common form of prenatal paternity testing. These tests use a needle in the cervix or abdomen. While they are extremely accurate, they also carry a risk of miscarriage. On the other hand, non-invasive prenatal testing is also an option that does not carry the excess risk.
Fetal DNA is present in the blood of the mother from 7 weeks after conception. A non-invasive test compares a blood sample from the mother with a blood sample or a swab taken from the potential father. This test carries no risk of miscarriage and is just as effective as postnatal or invasive prenatal testing.
Potential fathers who are concerned about their rights to their child or who worry that they are facing false allegations might want to discuss their situation with a family law attorney. Establishing paternity can also grant inheritance rights to the child.