DNA Testing Truck Takes Paternity Disputes to the Streets

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Paternity on Thursday, August 30, 2012.

The prevalence of DNA testing today sometimes makes a paternity dispute look as simple as a trip to the bank. Yet South Florida parents who have been through a paternity dispute know that the process can quickly become complicated and emotional.

A mobile DNA testing center now roaming the streets of New York City promises to quickly resolve family law questions, but experts wonder if users of this service realize what they're getting into. The lab, based inside of a recreational vehicle, has the words "Who's Your Daddy?" written on its sides. Customers enter the RV, where a technician takes a sample and sends it off to a lab in Ohio. The customer gets the results within three to five business days.

According to an industry group, Americans ordered at least 382,199 DNA tests in 2010. Realizing this, many businesses have sprung up to cash in on all this demand. This particular mobile center's tests are certified by industry and state organizations, but family law observers warn that individuals should be on guard for unreliable test services that may compromise their test results.

Mental health experts also warn that the easy availability of these tests often obscures the emotional issues that they can raise. Many people are not psychologically prepared for the results they receive, so it's important to have a solid grasp on what the implications of a positive or negative paternity test can have on both parents and children.

There are also serious legal issues that arrive with DNA tests. Indeed, the biggest source of the increased demand for these tests comes from state child-support agencies. But along with the custodial parent's right to child support payments, a paternity test can also mean the father can gain visitation and other father's rights. Child support and other parental rights in turn, can have a big impact on how both parents interact with their kid.

Whether they're walking into a doctor's office, going on a TV show or stepping into a mobile testing center, many Americans may not realize all the implications of a DNA test. They may resolve some questions, but can raise a whole lot more. As a result, it's important to be ready for the wide-range of rights and responsibilities that are impacted by test results.

Source: Reuters, "Who's your daddy? DNA clinic gives answers, sparks concerns," Lily Kuo, August 23, 2012

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