There are a variety of instances that may require paternity to be determined. The most common case typically involves parents who were not married to each other.
A paternity action establishes the parentage of a child. Establishing parentage means determining who are the legal parents of a child. Parentage must be established before a court can order visitation, custody, or child support for a child whose parents were unmarried at the time of his or her birth. There are many legal, financial, and ethical issues, and they can be overwhelming for all parties involved. If the parties cannot agree on parentage, the court can order genetic testing. If DNA tests show that you are the biological parent of the child in question, you can be held financially responsible. This means you may be paying child support. You also have rights to custody of your child.
There are cases which can be more complicated in nature, such as those that involve a man signing a voluntary declaration of paternity only to find out that he may not actually be the biological father of the child. In these situations, the court must determine whether or not the man is legally the father and if the voluntary declaration of paternity is to be set aside or upheld.