Is DNA Testing in My Child’s Best Interest?
Among the amendments to the Illinois Parentage Act that went into effect in January 2016, new guidelines were established to determine whether using DNA testing to determine paternity is in a child’s best interest. This is because state lawmakers recognized that being a child’s parent involves more than shared DNA, such as an established relationship and a history of supporting the child’s personal needs. But this does not eliminate the value that genetic testing can have in cases where a child’s parentage is disputed. Much like the set of factors used to determine the right parenting time arrangement for a child after his or her parents’ divorce, the court relies on the following set of 10 factors to determine whether a DNA test would be beneficial in a given paternity dispute.
Denial of a Motion for a DNA Test
These factors exist because, under the revised law, the court has the right to deny a motion from a parent or alleged parent to use DNA testing to determine a child’s paternity. The factors considered are as follows:
The amount of time that has elapsed between the date that the presumed parent was notified of the paternity dispute and the current proceeding; The child’s age; The length of time the presumed parent spent caring for the child under the impression that they were related; The reason why the parent is questioning his or her child’s parentage and other relevant circumstances that created the current condition; The child’s relationship with the presumed parent; Any negative impact that the child might experience as a result of the alleged parent being proven to not be the child’s biological parent; The relationship between the child and any other alleged parent involved in the case; Whether time is an issue to consider. In other words, how would the passage of time affect the probability of successfully establishing the child’s parentage; Tangential issues that could potentially arise from the disruption of the child’s relationship with the adjudicated or presumed parent as a result of the DNA test; and Other factors that the court deems to be of equitable concern to those listed above.
Every child’s situation is unique, so some of these factors will hold greater weight in a given case than others. This is why the final factor, to allow the court to consider other circumstances it deems to be necessary, is included. Genetic relation between a parent and a child can be an important component of their relationship, but it is far from the only component.
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