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DNA is a way to clear the air and know if a child's yours

You were excited when you found out that you were going to become a parent, and you smiled at the idea of having a family with the woman you want to marry. Something is bothering you, though. She waited a fairly long time to let you know that you were going to be a dad, and she hasn't been acting normally.

You know that it probably isn't the case, but a friend suggested that the child might not be yours. You're only dating now, and though you want to marry your girlfriend, the reality is that you don't want to go through all of this just to find out that the baby isn't yours.

One thing you might be interested in doing is having a paternity test. A paternity test might feel like it's going too far or that it would offend your partner, but there are ways to ask for one politely. For instance, did you know that you need to acknowledge paternity at the birth of your child? You can do so voluntarily, but you could also suggest having a paternity test to have supporting evidence.

Getting a DNA sample after your child's birth is the easiest way to do so, and it's the least invasive. To gather DNA, you only need to swab the inside of the child's cheek. That saliva and the cells it contains carry DNA that is matched to yours. Sometimes, blood tests can be used to match DNA instead.

By matching segments of your DNA against the child's DNA, it's possible to see if they are related to you. The test is around 99% accurate, so it's considered a defining test to prove paternity. There are exceptions to the rule, but most test results will be accurate.

What happens after you get a paternity test?

If you get a paternity test and find out that the child is yours, you can then sign an acknowlegement of paternity or go to court to have your parental rights established. Unfortunately, for men who are not married to the women who give birth to their children, it is a more complex process to prove paternity and establish your parental rights. If you were to get married prior to the birth, then you would be assumed to be the father at that time.

DNA and paternity testing are a great help in clearing up misunderstandings and complex situations. It may be a good idea to ask for one if you're unsure of a child's parentage.

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