“YOU ARE NOT THE FATHER!!” If you’ve ever watched ‘Maury’, you know those words can send a guy into a dancing frenzy or give him cramps worse than any menstrual cycle. Nevertheless, inmates may not be aware that they may have fathered a child prior to their incarceration and are bewildered because they’ve just received that startling news.
The ‘baby momma’, who alleges that an inmate has fathered her child, must obtain a judicial order from the court for testing or an administrative order from the Department of Revenue (FDR) if she is seeking social services or child support. If the order is sought via the FDR, there is no cost. However, if the alleged father is proved to be the ‘baby daddy’ from the court order, he is served with papers and is responsible for the costs of the test.
When faced with this news, an inmate might want to know ASAP if he is the father. He may want to save money by initiating his own testing instead of having to pay the fees for the test arranged by the court. There is a simple, quick, economical way to determine paternity with help from someone on the outside. This person can assist by selecting a reputable lab on-line and have the DNA test kit mailed directly to the inmate along with the appropriate legal paperwork signed by the judge. This will cost between $120 – $250. The lab will send the testing materials for the mother and the child to the customer and will forward the testing kit for the inmate directly to the institution’s medical division along with the proper paperwork. Once received, the medical staff will take the inmate’s DNA sample by swabbing the inside of his cheeks. After completion, the samples will be placed in the pre-paid mailer and returned to the lab. It takes a couple of weeks from the time the lab receives the samples, from all of the parties involved, to obtain the results. It is of the utmost importance for the institution to complete the testing and return the sample on a timely basis. The final results will be sent directly to the person or family member who assisted the inmate. The only draw back is that the inmate or his representative will be paying for this test whether or not he is found to be the father.
If he is not the father, that’s the end of it. But if he is the father, then he’s faced with a barrage of moral dilemmas, particularly if the child is older. How can I build a relationship with this child I never knew? Should I allow the child to visit me in prison? How can I help in the support of this child? (see our post on ‘Does Child Support Stop When You Go To Prison?’). Will I have any say in any legal decisions regarding this child? How do I put my child before any differences I have with my ‘baby momma’? How will this impact my current relationship? – along with a laundry list of other critical issues. A final word of advice to the inmate who suddenly find himself to be an instant parent. “If you haven’t done so already, take this opportunity to step up and be a real man!”