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New Prenatal Paternity Test Could Lead to Legal Changes

The issue of paternity is an important one. Not only does it matter emotionally, but it is also an incredibly important legal (and financial) issue that impacts significant rights and obligations. In cases where paternity is not definitively known, determining who the father is as quickly as possible can be crucially important.

Until recently those that wanted to know paternity had to wait until after the baby was born and could be DNA tested. Now, thanks toARCPoint Labs, a company based in nearby Greenville, South Carolina, couples can learn the paternity of their child months earlier.

The DNA test developed by ARCPoint Labs is the first noninvasive prenatal paternity test to ever be developed, and it is now considered commercially viable. Prior to this, the only other way to take a prenatal DNA sample was using an amniocentesis, which can be dangerous and comes with a risk of miscarriage given that a needle is inserted into a woman's amniotic sac.

ARCPoint's process works by using fragments of a fetus' DNA that is collected from a pregnant woman's blood to then compare with a cheek swab from the possible father(s). This means that paternity can now be established as early as the first trimester.

This new technological development is important in terms of family law because by establishing paternity early on, fathers could be required to assist with pregnancy-related medical expenses and to begin paying child support sooner. In other words, rather than waiting until after the baby has born to get answers, action might be taken while the woman is still pregnant.

Legally, the new test is significant because in most states, child support begins after a baby is born, with all the costs of the pregnancy typically being left to the mother. If this new tests gains a foothold, it's foreseeable that legislatures might decide to pursue child support payments earlier in the process, possibly even before birth.

If you have any questions about paternity, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar by calling 978-844-4095 to schedule a free one hour consultation.

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Law Offices of Renee Lazar
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Phone: 978-844-4095
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