When a mother seeks to obtain child support from the alleged father of her child and opens a case with the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS), DCSS will file a complaint to establish who the father of the child is and to set an amount for child support to be paid. In response to the complaint, the alleged father can deny being the father of the child and request a paternity test.
Upon requesting a paternity test, the mother, child, and alleged father will be required to provide genetic samples to the DCSS-contracted laboratory. This obligation is mandatory. Under Family Code Section 7570, “there is a compelling state interest in establishing paternity for all children,” especially when establishing child support.
As the alleged father, you do not have a constitutional right to prevent a government contracted laboratory from conducting a paternity test, even if you are agreeable to have the paternity test be conducted by a private laboratory.
Under the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court case, Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives’ Assn., a DNA sample presents its own distinct privacy concerns, and thus there is a constitutional right to privacy when providing a DNA sample. However, this privacy right is not unconditional and can be limited for a compelling opposing interest if laws are in place to limit the use of the DNA sample to an exact purpose intended to meet the needs of the opposing interest.
There is no evidence to establish when taking a DNA for a paternity, the DCSS-contracted laboratory will invade the alleged father’s privacy any more than if a private laboratory conducts the paternity test. Moreover, under Family Code Section 17212, “Information obtained by a government agency for the purpose of establishing paternity…is specifically protected from examination, release, or disclosure for any purpose not directly related to the administration and implementation of child support.”
Therefore, even if you are willing to pay a private laboratory to conduct a paternity test to determine whether or not you are the father for purposes of establishing child support, you are still required to submit a DNA sample to the DCSS-contracted laboratory. However, you can still have a private laboratory conduct the paternity test and then have an expert testify to that laboratory’s result at the child support hearing.
Child support can be a highly disputed issue, especially when a party claims not to be the father of the child. Our skilled and experienced child support attorneys can help you. We can help you resolve your child support case with the Department of Child Support Services. We have been practicing family law for over 30 years and have a trustworthy legal team. Call us today at 1-888-749-7428. Wallin and Klarich has offices in San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles and Orange Counties. We will be there when you call.
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