At one time, DNA testing kits seemed like little more than a science fiction concept. Today, however, these tests are not just available — they’re easily accessible. Fueled, in part, by BOGO deals and other discounts, these tests are blowing up. As of late 2017, over 12 million people admitted to using these direct-to-consumer tests. Ancestry.com announced that over 1.5 million customers sought tests during the 2017 Black Friday weekend alone.
Ads for companies such as 23andMe or Ancestry.com depict happy families, finally connected to their roots. Unfortunately, real-world DNA testing stories aren’t always as happy as they seem in marketing materials.
When DNA Tests Prompt Divorce
A recent Vox story shed light on the complicated role at-home genetic testing can play in divorce. The drama began when an unnamed biologist purchased 23andMe kits for his parents and himself — and checked a box requesting that he be notified of close genetic connections. He was linked with a man he previously didn’t know existed. Ultimately, the test results revealed an affair that occurred before his father was married. The ensuing tension led to his father’s divorce.
Ultimately, the author of this sad story realized that his test wasn’t just a fun activity or a simple means of satisfying his curiosity — it essentially served as an “advanced paternity test.” He remains completely devastated by the outcome, explaining, “I wrestle with these emotions…I still hold out hope that in time we can resolve things. But I also worry that as these transitions happen there may have been some permanent emotional damage that may not be able to be undone.”
Whether your divorce was triggered by at-home genetic testing or a more ‘conventional’ cause, you can benefit from the support of a family lawyer you trust. Contact the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. today to learn more about your options.