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How to Subpoena for a Paternal DNA

By Kimberly Turtenwald ; Updated April 18, 2017
An unmarried father must prove his paternity through DNA or a voluntary statement.

In many states, when a child is born out of wedlock, the law does not recognize a presumed father until he voluntarily signs a document stating he is the father or a paternity test establishes he is the father. It is often up to the mother of the child to request a paternity test, but a father can also request one, as well as the state if the mother is receiving state assistance. To require a potential father to submit to a paternity test, a subpoena is often required.

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Request child support through your local child support enforcement agency. You must prove paternity to collect child support from the father. If you sign up for government assistance, this may also trigger a required paternity test.

Ask the court to order a paternity test to establish the father of your child. This can be done for any reason, including to add him to the birth certificate, set up visitation or collect child support.

Serve the potential father with the request for paternity testing. Some states require that you use the sheriff's office or a service company. Others allow anyone over the age of 18 to serve documents, while yet others allow service by certified mail. Check your state regulations on service to ensure the subpoena is served properly.


If you file for government assistance, the state can automatically subpoena the potential father for paternity testing to help recoup some of their costs. By law, both parents are financially responsible for their children.

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About the Author

Kimberly Turtenwald began writing professionally in 2000. She has written content for various websites, including Lights 2 You, Online Consultation, Corpus Personal Injury and more. Turtenwald studied editing and publishing at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

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