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Establishing Paternity: DNA Testing, Legal Rights, and More

Navigating an unplanned pregnancy can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re not sure who the father is. Once paternity testing is complete, you and the father may have different opinions about what the next step should be.


Take a deep breath. The journey can be complicated, but you’re not in this alone! Pregnancy Care Center is here to help. Today, we’re exploring paternity testing, the biological father’s legal rights, and more!


I Don’t Know Who the Father Is. What Do I Do?


If you’re unsure who the father is, consider reaching out to the potential candidate(s) about paternity testing.


Do Ultrasounds Determine Who the Father Is?


Ultrasounds can’t determine who the father of the baby is. However, they can give you an estimate of when you conceived. This may help you narrow down potential father candidates, based on your sexual encounter(s) around that time.


Can I Get a Paternity Test While Pregnant?


Yes! While pregnant, you can receive a non-invasive prenatal paternity test (NIPP), chorionic villus sampling (CVS), or amniocentesis[1]. In each test, you and the potential father provide a blood sample or cheek swab. A lab specialist then compares the samples to find a match.


A chorionic villus sampling (CVS) can be performed between 10 to 13 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period. Amniocentesis can be performed between the 15th and 20th weeks of pregnancy. Both of these procedures do carry a slight risk of miscarriage, so be sure to speak to a medical professional beforehand to make the best decision for your health.


What Legal Rights Does the Biological Father Have?

Once the biological father has been determined by a paternity test, California law states that he has all the rights and responsibilities of a parent[2]:


  • He will be able to request custody and visitation (parenting time) orders from the court so that he can legally visit with his child.


  • He also will be responsible for paying child support and will have to pay half of the uninsured health-care costs for the children and half of the child-care costs that result from the custodial parent getting or having a job or going to school.


The biological father is legally required to financially support the child. It’s considered a crime for an established parent to fail to support his child[2].


What if We Disagree? Can He Tell Me What to Do?


Even if paternity has been established, the biological father can’t force you to make a certain decision about your unplanned pregnancy. The final choice is yours alone!


That being said, it may be important to you to make a decision you both feel comfortable with. If that’s the case, consider attending an options education session at Pregnancy Care Center! We have male and female client advocates that will answer all of your questions and help you weigh your options.


However, if he’s made threats or acted on them, don’t hesitate to reach out for help! Pregnancy Care Center can help you escape the abuse you’re facing and connect you with community resources so you can get the ongoing support you deserve.


Unplanned Pregnancy Help in Fresno, CA

We get it… pregnancy wasn’t a part of your plan. But, it doesn’t have to derail your future! Pregnancy Care Center is here to support you every step of the way.


We offer free pregnancy testing, free ultrasounds, and a safe, confidential place to explore all of your pregnancy options—all so you can make an informed and empowered decision!


Call or text us at (559) 237-0683 or schedule your appointment today!


Sources

  1. DNA Paternity Test: Definition & Types. Cleveland Clinic. (2020, October 21). Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/10119-dna-paternity-test#

  2. The Judicial Branch of California. (2022). Parentage (Paternity). California Courts. Retrieved from https://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-parentage.htm

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