Using A DNA Test To Prove Paternity In A Custody Dispute


I am getting ready to go through a divorce and would like custody of our children. However, my oldest son has another man’s last name because my wife and I met while she was still legally married to someone else.

Can I get a DNA test to prove I’m the father and obtain custody?


While I am only licensed to practice in Virginia, I am able to give you some general observations on this issue on Virginia Law.

In Virginia, in order to contest paternity you need to motion the court to issue an order stating that you and the child must get a DNA test. Both the mother and the individual who signed the birth certificate must get notice of your motion and can object.

Generally, if there are any objections to your motion the court will order that a Guardian ad Litem be appointed and that a hearing be held on the matter.

A Guardian ad Litem is an attorney who will only focus on what is best for the child. So, if the Guardian ad Litem decided that is not in the best interest of the child to take the paternity test, then they will tell the court that and the court will give great weight to their recommendation.

So, even though you may have evidence that the child is yours, the court may not order the DNA test. And, the courts will not entertain a DNA test that the court did not order.

Questions regarding child custody, especially establishing paternity, require a specialized knowledge of local law. For these reasons I would suggest you contact an attorney who specializes in family law matters in your jurisdiction.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on these matters.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss paternity rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, contact Cordell & Cordell.

End of Content Icon

Shawn Garrison is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell & Cordell UK. He has written countless pieces dealing with the unique child custody and divorce issues that men and fathers face. Through his work on,, and, Mr. Garrison has become an authority on the complexities of the legal experience and was a content creator for the YouTube series “Dad’s Divorce Live” and additional videos on both the Dad’s Divorce and Cordell & Cordell YouTube channels. Mr. Garrison has managed the sites of these customers, and fostered the creation of several of their features, including the Cordell & Cordell attorney and office pages, the Dad’s Divorce Newsletter, and the Cordell & Cordell newsletter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.