Knowing the paternity of a child is essential not only for financial reasons, but also for emotional well-being. No matter what the outcome of a paternity test may be, it is important to explore your options if you have doubt as to who the child’s biological father might be. As important as this test is, it is just as important to learn the differences between a legal and non-legal DNA paternity test.
What is Legal DNA Paternity Testing?
A legal paternity test ensures that the test was collected and administered by a neutral third party. This confirms that the person who is collecting the specimens has no vested interest in the outcome of the test and will not attempt to falsify the specimens in any way. Furthermore, during legal paternity testing, a chain of custody must be maintained at all times.
What is a Chain of Custody?
Chain of custody refers to the process in which the specimens were collected and the documentation that accompanies the DNA specimens. In short, the specimens must be accounted for during every step of the paternity testing process. Since the courts will have a complete chain of custody, a legal paternity test is defensible in a court of law.
Furthermore, during a legal DNA paternity test, the specimen collector must also verify the identities of all tested parties. This would include verification with photo identification or other legal document. This verification process provides the documentation necessary to make the DNA paternity test results, legally defensible.
What are Some Common Reasons to Request Legal Paternity Tests?
There are many reasons why you may need to request a legal DNA paternity test. Some of the most common reasons include child support claims, determining eligibility for inheritances and listing a fathers name on a birth certificate.
A legal DNA paternity test typically costs more than a non-legal DNA paternity test due to the additional steps involved but well worth the additional investment should you need the results for legal purposes.
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What is Non-Legal DNA Paternity Testing?
A non-legal paternity test, also known as a home or peace-of-mind paternity test, works just like a legal DNA paternity test with the exception of documentation. Additionally, non-legal DNA paternity testing methods follow the same strict laboratory processes as a legal DNA paternity test.
You can purchase a home DNA paternity test online. After you receive your kit, you will collect the specimens by simply rubbing a swab on the inside of your cheek as well as the collect the specimens of other tested parties. You will then place the swabs in sample envelopes and mail them back to the lab.
The results will include the same information as a legal DNA paternity test with the exception of notarization. Typically, you will receive your results within about three to five business days after receipt of samples in the laboratory. While these results are as accurate, a court will not accept them due to the lack of third party documentation.
When a married woman gives birth, her husband is typically assumed to be the child’s father and is given that status on the birth certificate. But if a woman is unmarried, a man must formally be named the father to establish legal paternity. The man must usually sign...