Anna Nicole Smith must provide saliva samples from herself and her baby daughter for a paternity test to determine the identity of the baby’s father.
The ruling, by L.A. Superior Court Judge Robert Schneider, is a legal victory for Smith’s ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead who claims he is the father of Dannielynn Hope. Smith has disputed this claim, saying that her lawyer and current boyfriend Howard K. Stern is the baby’s father.
Smith is currently in the Bahamas and enforcing the paternity test order could prove difficult. If she refuses to obey the court order, Birkhead could go on to file a contempt citation and Smith could be arrested whenever she returns to California. Smith recently spent time in San Francisco where she appeared in court. She has spent a number of years fighting with her former stepson over her late husband’s (J. Howard Marshall’s) fortune.
Paternity Action: A paternity action is filed in court to have a man declared as a child’s legal father. Paternity actions are also called establishment hearings, parentage actions, or filiation hearings.
A paternity test (Blood and DNA) can determine with 99.99% accuracy that a man is a child’s father. It can also rule out paternity with 100% accuracy. A man who has been legally established as a child’s father is normally granted custody or visitation rights.
Some answers to basic questions about paternity tests:
1. What is DNA testing?
DNA paternity testing uses the DNA (deoxribonucleic acid) genetic material in the cells of your body to determine parentage. At the moment of conception, the 23 chromosomes present in the woman’s egg and the 23 chromosomes present in the man’s sperm combine to give a total of 46 chromosomes to the child. These 46 chromosomes are presents in every cell of your body. Thus, every parent has given their child 23 of their own chromosomes, and this is what DNA testing tests for.
2. How accurate is it?
A DNA paternity test is the most accurate form of paternity testing currently available. If the DNA patterns of the mother, child, and alleged father match on every DNA probe, then the probability of paternity is 99.9% or greater. This means that the man is “practically proven” to be the father of the child.
If the DNA patterns between the child and the alleged father do not match on two or more DNA probes, then the man is 100% excluded and has a 0% probability of being the child’s father.
3. How old does the child have to be before he/she can be tested?
Children can be tested for paternity even before they are born, so there is no age limit on when a paternity test can be done. DNA testing can be performed on a very small blood sample (about 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon) or a moth swab (buccal swab), so newborns and infants can be easily tested. To test paternity before birth requires that Chorionic Villi Sampling (CVS) or Amniocentesis be performed to gather appropriate cells.
DNA testing can also be performed post-mortem by collecting specimens at the coroner’s office.
4. Does the mother have to be present for the test to take place?
No. The DNA paternity test can be performed even when the mother is not available. If the DNA probe patterns between the alleged father and child do not match, then the man is still 100% excluded from being the biological father of the child. If the patterns match, the probability is 99% or greater that the man is the father.
The person who brings the child in for testing must provide proper identification for the child.
5. What kind of samples do you take?
Paternity testing can take place from a wide variety of cells, including blood samples, cheek cells, tissue samples, and semen. Each test provides the same accuracy, due to the presence of DNA material in every cell of the body.
To get the buccal swab (mouth swab), a buccal swab is used to gently massage the inside of the child’s or adult’s mouth to gather the cells.
6. How does the paternity test work?
DNA is taken from the sample or blood, cheek cells, or cultured cells. Enzymes are used to cut the DNA sample in fragments which are placed into a gel matrix. An electric current is used to drive the fragments across the gel, making the smallest fragments move the farthest and the larger fragments move the shortest distance.
The separated DNA fragments are transferred to a nylon membrane. This membrane is exposed to a labeled DNA probe (a short piece of customized DNA that recognizes and binds to a unique segment of the tested person’s DNA). The nylon membrane is then placed against a film which, after it is developed, reveals black bands where the probes are bound to the DNA. The child’s visible band pattern is unique, with half matching the mother and half matching the father.
The process is repeated several times with different probes, each identifying a different DNA area and producing a distinct pattern. Using several probes creates a greater than 99.9% certainty about paternity or identity.
7. What do the results mean?
The DNA paternity testing results show conclusively whether the alleged father is the biological father or not. He is either included by greater 99.9%, or excluded by 100%.
Sagaria Law, P.C. handles paternity disputes, paternity claims, child custody issues, and child support matters in Santa Clara County, Alameda County, and Monterey County. Contact Sagaria Law, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation.
Anna Nicole Smith, Baby Face DNA Testing, Phillynews.com, December 23, 2006
Related Web Resources:
Fathers Rights And Paternity Issues, About.com
Paternity Issues and Child Support, Nolo.com