Paternity Testing is not just for parents anymore!
The unmarried birth rate is at an all-time high in the United States, topping out at in confirmed statistics at 36.8% in 2006 and possibly as high as 40% in 2008. Social and governmental agencies alike are coping with establishing paternity for children. However, there is a growing group that is affected by the issue of paternity that is being overlooked - grandparents.
According to AARP, nearly 6 million children are raised in households headed by grandparents or other relatives; 2.5 million of these children are without parents in the household at all, leaving their care and upbringing to their grandparents or other relatives. In light of the high out-of-wedlock birth rate, some grandparents must take an extra step and establish their biological relationship through DNA testing in order to gain legal guardianship or visitation rights to their grandchild.
There are also other, little-known situations that the grandparent generation is faced with in relation to their family status. They may have to establish paternity for reasons such as:
- Helping their son or daughter, who may have a child born outside of a marriage to determine paternity for the completion of the Acknowledgement of Paternity as quickly as possible. Many grandparents do not want to wait for state testing because it can take weeks and months to prove or disprove paternity. They want to know whether or not to bond with the grandchild to avoid future family dysfunction.
- Establishing paternity if the father is deceased, yet his name is not on the birth certificate. Helping the mother establish paternity will allow her to seek social security or military child-survivor benefits on behalf of the child, while affording grandparents the proof they need to establish legal visitation rights.
- Establishing paternity in situations where the grandchild may be placed in fostercare and preference is given to kinship support. Grandparents may need to prove their biological relationship to the child to take on the role as the legal guardian or foster parent.