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A DNA paternity test can help a mother collect child support

A man who fathers a child in Minnesota will typically be legally obligated to provide financial support for that child until the child reaches the age of majority. When a man denies he is the father of a child, the mother can compel him to submit to blood or DNA testing to determine paternity under Minnesota law.

Blood testing for paternity is more sophisticated than merely determining which of the four blood types, A, B, AB and O, is possessed by the mother, child and alleged father. Using a test first developed in the 1970s, in which analysts compare white cell antigens in the blood of the parties, fatherhood can be excluded with a 95 percent accuracy rate. Blood testing can either exclude an alleged father or indicate a strong possibility of fatherhood. Blood testing alone cannot, however, identify whether a specific man is the father of a child.

DNA is a far more accurate means of determining paternity. DNA is present in every cell of the body and is unique to each individual. A child inherits half its DNA from the mother and half from the father. DNA can be collected from an individual in a number of ways; the most common is a swab of the inside of the cheek. DNA paternity testing can exclude a man who is not the father; if there is a match of DNA patterns between the man, the woman and the child, paternity is established with an accuracy rate of 99.9 percent.

For an unwed mother in Minnesota, child support can be essential to provide for the child's basic needs. When an alleged father denies paternity, it is important for the mother to understand her rights with regard to bringing a paternity action and having the court determine whether the man is the father.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Paternity Tests: Blood Tests and DNA," accessed Feb. 19, 2017

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