Paternity Test

Costa Rica Paternity Test

Paternity Test

Child support and custody are a major concern in Costa Rica, especially with the rising number of cases of single mothers trying to raise children on their own. A lot of men father children in Costa Rica and then leave to go back to their home country. There are also cases where the men are local residents but do not admit to paternity. Costa Rican law, which has always leaned in favor of women and children, has tried to change this trend with the approval of the Costa Rican Paternity Law more than twenty years ago.

Costa Rican Paternity Law

In 2001 the Paternity Law was put into effect in Costa Rica. Locally known as Ley de Paternidad Responsable or Law 8101, this law gives women the right to identify the father of her child in a process that is quite favorable to the woman. It is generally believed that this is the first law of its kind anywhere in the world.

The drafting of this law is one of the protective measures that the Costa Rican government gives to women and children, in light of the fact that prostitution is legal in the country and thus leads to a large number of unwed mothers, teenage pregnancies and fatherless children.

Identifying the Father of a Child

According to the Costa Rican Paternity Law, a woman can name a man as the biological father of her child, and have him take a paternity test in order to prove this fact. If the man does not want to take the paternity test, this refusal is viewed as an admission of his paternity, in which case he will be required by law to pay the appropriate child support.

If the man does agree to take the test but wants to contest the results, he will be allowed to do so. However, the paternity test is considered to be legally binding and so if it shows that he is indeed the biological father of the child, he will have to pay child support even as he goes through the procedure of contesting the results.

Cost of the Paternity Test

All paternity tests that are ordered when a woman invokes her rights under the law are to be paid for by the Costa Rican government. There is no financial obligation to the woman who files a paternity case or to the man who has to take the test. This is one of the ways that the Costa Rican government manifests their support to women and children in the way of the law.

It is also worth mentioning that a man can also request a DNA test to confirm a man's paternity of the child. If the child is proven to be his, then he will be granted visitation rights and other paternity rights like selecting schools, religion, health care, and more. Also, his name will be added to the birth certificate. If his name was placed on the birth certificate because he was married at the time, and the DNA test shows that he is not the father, then his name will be removed from the birth certificate.

Ensuring the Payment of Child Support

As soon as a man has been legally determined to be the father of a child, he is obligated to pay child support in the amount that is decreed by the judge. This is regardless of whether he is a Costa Rican citizen or not. If he wishes to go out of the country, he will first have to settle all his outstanding child support payments. The Paternity Law also gives Costa Rican police the power to search for the parents of a man who has arrears in child custody payments to help in locating him.

Escaping to the United States, or other countries, is also something that some men try to do. However, the Costa Rican and many foreign governments have a special agreement when it comes to the extradition of men found to be evading child support. The United States supports the enforcement of Costa Rican child support orders and will readily cooperate for the search and identification of individuals who are in violation of such orders.

Old Paternity Test System

Before the Paternity Law was approved, the method of testing for paternity used in Costa Rica was very similar to that in the United States. It was heavily dependent on the court hearings and was notorious for taking an unnecessarily long amount of time before any decision was handed down. Many mothers had no choice but to leave the father's name blank when they register their newborn children. Even with the help of a competent lawyer, a woman used to have very limited legal means to secure the future of her child.

Today, with the implementation of the paternity test as dictated by the new law, the number of cases of child abandonment by fathers has been greatly reduced. In fact, the Costa Rica registry reports that there has been a more than 20% decrease of newborns being registered with no father's name on the birth certificate.

Reliable Legal Representation

Establishing paternity can be a very complicated process in Costa Rica. While men certainly do have rights and privileges, the law is very much in favor of women and children. Also, the legality of prostitution does not make things any easier for a man wishing to prove or disprove the paternity of a child.

If you are faced with such a quandary, rest assured that our law firm is fully capable of giving you the best legal representation that you can ask for. We are experts in dealing with all matters that have to do with family disputes, from child support to paternity tests. Our lawyers are completely professional and can handle each case in full confidentiality.

In addition to having the highest level of expertise in Costa Rican Family Law and its nuances and providing you with superior legal services in the country, we also understand the emotional stress that these family disputes can cause. Thus, we give each of our clients focused attention and truly listen to everything that you have to say on the matter. We will tackle your case with a very compassionate and understanding approach, and with our lawyers and legal consultants by your side, you will never feel that you are alone in this legal battle that you are faced with.

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