If you’re planning on doing a DNA paternity test soon, it’s extremely important to know the differences between a legal paternity test and a home paternity test before making this all-important purchase. There are some very key differences—here’s a fast overview.
Legal Paternity Test Results are Court-admissible
As a top paternity testing lab, we often hear from customers who have done a home paternity test and now want to use the results from that test for child support or child custody. But they can’t! Courts in the United States will not accept results from a home paternity test. The reason is because—with a home paternity test—the court has no way of verifying if the DNA submitted for testing actually belongs to the people whose names are listed on the test.
Home paternity test results are for “peace of mind” or personal-information purposes only.
Legal paternity test results are court-admissible and can be used in cases involving:
- Child support
- Child custody
- Inheritance rights
- Social security
- And more
The DNA Collection Process is Different
For a home paternity test:
- You pick up the DNA collection kit at participating retailers or purchase online
- One you receive the kit, you swab the inside of the cheeks of the child, possible father, and the mother (her participation is optional, but recommended)
- You mail the DNA samples to the lab
- Results are posted in one (1) business day, if you test with DDC
For a legal paternity test:
- You call the lab directly to order the test or purchase online
- The customer-service specialist makes an appointment for test participants at a local approved DNA collection center in your area
- Per AABB accreditation requirements for legal testing, the specialist mails a DNA collection kit directly to the collection center (you cannot bring a kit to the center yourself)
- The DNA Sample Collector verifies the identities of test participants and that proof is ultimately included in the paternity-test report, which is what makes results court-admissible
- The Collector either witnesses participants swabbing their own cheeks or may assist participants, if needed
- The Collector completes all paperwork, packages up DNA samples, and ships samples off to the lab
- Once samples arrive at the lab, results are posted in one (1) business day, if you test with DDC
Once samples are at the lab and testing begins, the process itself is exactly the same for a home paternity test as it is for a legal paternity test.
Because a legal test requires the services of a DNA Collector, there is an additional cost per participant. Other than this collection fee for court-admissible testing, there are no other price differences between legal and home paternity testing.
Final Thoughts about a Legal Paternity Test vs. a Home Paternity Test
Even if you don’t anticipate ever needing to go to court, if there is even a chance it could happen someday, it’s worth it to pay a little extra to get a legal test. No matter which test is right for you, be selective in choosing the lab that will perform this potentially life-changing service—reputation for excellence and accuracy in results are more important than a rock-bottom price.
Call us at 800-929-0847: We’re here to help.
Do you have questions or comments about a legal paternity test? Share in the comments and we’ll answer.