Q: I think that I am the father of a child, but paternity has not yet been decided for the child. Do I have to wait until I’m brought into court to get genetic tests?
I think I want to sign the ROP, but I would also like to have genetic tests done to make sure that I am the biological father.
A: No. If you and the mother agree, you can schedule and pay for genetic testing yourself. If you do not have the money to pay for genetic tests, you can ask the child support office to help you. The child support office helps mothers and fathers establish paternity. They can usually help you set up genetic tests before the court process is started (unless the court process has already started). Call the county child support office to ask for this help.
If you ask the child support office for help in establishing paternity, they will also set up child support if the mother is getting public assistance. But, they must pursue child support in any case where the mother is receiving public assistance, even if you do not ask for help in getting genetic testing.
You can always sign an ROP after you obtain genetic test results if the child’s paternity has not yet been established, but you cannot get the child support agency to help you get genetic tests done after you sign the ROP. The only exception to this is if you are within 60 days of signing the ROP, then you can revoke the ROP and ask for genetic tests.