Yes, a paternity test can be wrong. As with all tests, there is always the chance that you will receive incorrect results. No test is 100 percent accurate. Human error and other factors can cause the results to be wrong.
What is a Paternity Test?
When children are born out of wedlock in Florida, the parents can establish paternity in several ways. The parents may get married or file a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form with the state.
If a man claims that he is the father of a child or a mother alleges a man is the child’s father, the court could order a paternity test to determine whether the man is the biological parent. A paternity test examines the DNA of the father and the child. If the man and the child share a significant amount of DNA, they are likely related biologically.
Studies show that paternity testing is highly reliable. It is unlikely that a man and a child would share a significant portion of their DNA and not be related. However, there are cases in which a paternity test is wrong.
How Can a Paternity Test Be Wrong?
Situations and factors that could result in an incorrect paternity test include:
Mistakes Collecting the DNA
Collecting DNA is a simple process. In many cases, a swab is rubbed on the inside of the check to obtain a sample. The sample is securely stored for testing. Other sources of DNA that might be used for a paternity test include blood, hair, semen, umbilical cord, saliva, or other human tissue.
If the swab or the container is contaminated, the test may be wrong. If the person obtaining the same did not follow the correct procedures, it could impact the test’s outcome.
Errors Made in the Lab
Mistakes and errors in the lab could also corrupt the results of a paternity test. If the samples are contaminated, the results could be inaccurate. The samples could be mixed up, so that the lab is testing the wrong samples. Human error is often the cause of incorrect paternity results.
Before choosing a lab to conduct your paternity best, check the lab’s reviews, complaints, and performance statistics. Make sure that the lab has an excellent record to reduce the chance of errors and mistakes.
Fraud and Tamper
DNA fraud is not common, but it does happen. A mother may submit a sample of the man’s other child to force a positive paternity test. Someone in the lab may tamper with the DNA samples or the test results to provide false results. In paternity lawsuits, parents may go to extremes to obtain the results that they desire.
The Man and the Child Are Related
A mother could lie about who fathered the child. If the man was a relative of the alleged father, the DNA test results might show a positive DNA result. If the subjects are closely related, such as brothers, a lab could interpret the DNA test as positive.
Too Few Markers Tested
People share about 99 percent of their DNA with other individuals, including those not related to them. Testing higher numbers of genetic markers rule out more men that could be the child’s father. If the lab stops examining the DNA for patterns after finding a common pattern, the results may not be valid.
Defective Test Kits or Components
The components of the DNA test could be defective. A defect in any component of the DNA test could result in a false-positive or a false-negative result.
Why is Proving Paternity Important?
A man does not have any legal rights to a child unless paternity is established. The man cannot demand visitation rights or make decisions regarding the child’s health, welfare, education, religious upbringing, or residence. A mother can relocate with the child out of state without the man’s consent if he has not been recognized as the child’s legal father.
For the mother, proving paternity allows her to receive child support for her child. She cannot legally require a man to support the child financially until paternity is determined.
If either person disputes paternity, the other party can file a paternity action in family court. The court will generally order the parties to submit to DNA testing to determine paternity. Even though paternity tests can be wrong in a small number of cases, DNA testing is considered highly reliable.
If you suspect that the paternity test was tampered with or is incorrect, request a second test. You may be required to pay for the second test. However, if you are confident that the original DNA test is incorrect, a second test’s cost is worth knowing the truth about paternity.