Interviewer: How long does a DNA test take?
Jeanne Morales: Once the DNA is collected, the lab can get it back to us within four days.
Interviewer: At that point has the mother been court ordered to cooperate?
Jeanne Morales: To make sure the child’s available to have the DNA collected, yes. That’s something the judge can make her do.
Interviewer: Could you see getting the mother to agree and having her show up as difficult aspects of the process?
Jeanne Morales: Well, the situation is specific. If the guy alleged to be the father is convinced not to get a DNA test early on and just goes ahead and signs the papers, before, basically when he did was he signed away his rights. Now, there is an exit ramp, as it were, for him later on if he develops doubts about the paternity that he can ask for a DNA test, but that’s what has recently changed.
It’s always our advice early on if there’s any doubt whatsoever at the inception of a child support case that one of the best things an alleged father can do is ask for a DNA test. Don’t rely on just a statement of others that “of course you’re the father” and things like that. The cost of a DNA test is nothing compared to the cost of child support that can go on for years and years.
That happens. There are people who do go ahead and start from the beginning asking for a DNA test, and so it’s a routine as far as the court ordering and the mother providing the child for the collection of that DNA, so that’s not an issue. I think that’s a fair routine.
Well, from the case law we’ve looked at, it really can be an issue of when you first suspected it, because if the other parent who’s receiving the child support is faced with losing this support, it might be in her best interest to challenge that he’s known for more than two years, and he slept on his rights and therefore he can’t change things now.
Some of the case law we’ve looked at precisely that: there is an attempt to keep the individual in the situation of paying the child support. So the only way to challenge this now is to say, “Well, he’s known about it all along and if he didn’t ask for a DNA test within two years don’t give him one now.” We have seen that in case law; that’s already happened and this law just changed recently.
Interviewer: How long does a typical case like this last?
Jeanne Morales: If it weren’t contested, really the situation would be to fill the initial request. Like I said, in most cases the judge is at least going to want an appearance to go over why the person thinks that he now needs a DNA test.
Then, the DNA test will happen. So conceivably, depending on what the judge’s schedule is, it could be wrapped up relatively quickly.