DNA testing has advanced considerably over the past few decades. As such, you may think establishing paternity for your child should be a straightforward matter. After all, a quick swipe of the inside of a person’s cheek or other noninvasive methods usually provides enough genetic material to either confirm or dispel paternity. Unfortunately, though, paternity law in the Keystone State often presents some sticky issues.

A person may want to request a DNA test for a variety of reasons. Commonly, though, there is some question about fatherhood. If you need to confirm the identity of your child’s father, you should understand the limitations.

Voluntary testing 

Fathers can volunteer to submit a sample for DNA testing, making confirming fatherhood an easy process. Still, some individuals may be reluctant to agree to a genetic test. For example, if someone does not want to pay you child support, he may resist paternity testing.

Previous acknowledgment 

Pennsylvania has an interest both in quickly naming fathers and ensuring children have the financial resources they need to thrive. If an individual has previously acknowledged that he is the father of your child, he may not be able to request a subsequent DNA test. This is true even if genetic testing is likely to show that he is not your child’s dad. Often, men acknowledge paternity by signing a child’s birth certificate.


As a mother, you may also establish a fatherhood precedent in your family. If as a mom you present someone as being the father of your child, you may be unable to obtain DNA testing for a third party who may actually be the dad.

Clearly, there are issues with DNA testing that parents may have to overcome. If you are thinking about filing a Petition to Establish Paternity, you must know how these issues may affect both your case and your family. Be sure you understand the intricacies of paternity law in Pennsylvania to know your options.