A legal paternity test is a DNA test on the man you think is the father. It allows you to determine if someone is the biological father of a child. If you are not sure who the father is, such a test can provide certainty. Even if a man is unsure if the child is his, a paternity test can provide proof. You can have a paternity test done by a doctor, but there are also home tests and that’s good to know.
DNA testing by the court
Becoming a father comes unexpectedly for some men. If the father does not believe that the child is his, he may refuse to help care for it or contribute financially to its upbringing. In such a case, you can go to court to have paternity determined. The DNA test must be done by a doctor. If the father refuses the DNA test, the court can force the DNA test on him. With the legal paternity test, or in other words the establishment of paternity in court, you can have the legal bond determined between the biological father and the child.
Judicial establishment of paternity
A determination of paternity in court can only be requested by the mother or by the child. As the mother, you can file this request until your child is five years old. When your child is of age, he or she can file a request without the consent of such. When the child is a minor, this will have to be done together with a guardian. When you take a legal paternity test, the father himself cannot file a request for a judicial determination of paternity.
Consequences of the paternity test
When paternity is established by the court, there are consequences for the legal bond to his child. The father has to contribute to the upbringing of your child and thus becomes a maintenance debtor. In practice, this means that the child inherits from the father and can be given his name. If the mother has a foreign nationality but the father is Dutch, your child will also receive Dutch nationality.
Children who do not know who their father is can have a hard time with this when they get a little older. It can make children feel unsafe or insecure not knowing where they come from. Attachment is important for babies. It’s wise to think about that too when establishing paternity or acknowledging it.