Legal Paternity Testing

When you need DNA proof of paternal relationship for legal reasons.

What Paternity Test Do I Need for Child Support and Custody?

You need a legal paternity test if you want to use the report for child support and custody. Did you know results for a home paternity test are not court-admissible? For DNA results to be accepted, the court system requires that a specific chain-of-custody process be followed. No one has more experience with legal paternity testing than DDC, so you can trust us to get it right the first time. Some reasons for legal DNA testing include: child support and custody, birth certificate, immigration, adoption, tax forms, inheritance rights and more. The report is posted to your secure online account 1-2 business days once all samples are received at the lab.

Contact our experts today for a free consultation.

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When it’s time to go to court, you’ll be ready

DDC performs thousands of accredited legal paternity tests a year accepted by courts worldwide, and our experts are ready to help you, too—it’s fast, secure, and accurate.

Starting at $499

Legal Paternity Testing: How It Works

DNA COLLECTION: When you place your order with DDC, a scheduling specialist arranges a DNA-collection appointment near your home or office at a time convenient for you. A legal paternity test requires that all parties have their DNA samples collected at a certified facility such as a hospital, medical office, or health department. We have the largest network of sample-collection sites in the world, and thousands of locations from which to choose.

CHAIN-OF-CUSTODY HANDLING: Once collected, DNA samples are sent securely in tamper-proof packaging to our accredited laboratory in Fairfield, Ohio, where DNA testing takes place.

THE TESTING PROCESS: Our laboratory technicians carefully handle and prepare your DNA samples for processing. Every paternity test with cheek-swab samples is run two separate times by independent teams. The results are then reviewed by our in-house team of PhDs and your report is prepared.

YOUR RESULTS: As soon as the results are verified, immediate and secure online access to the report is available for the decision-maker in the case, and a legal document that is admissible in a court of law is mailed to all tested parties.

Results are completely confidential, and your private genetic information is never shared with or sold to outside parties.
See our privacy policy here.

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More about this Test

Q: What is the difference between a legal paternity test and a home paternity test?
A: The main difference between a legal paternity test and a home paternity test is how the results report can be used: results from a legal paternity test are court-admissible while results from a home paternity test are not. Courts accept results for a legal test because a chain-of-custody process with witnessed DNA collection is followed, which ensures the correct DNA has been submitted for testing.
Q: Where do we go to get DNA collected for a legal paternity test?
A: DNA is collected for a legal paternity test at an approved facility near you. DDC works with thousands of approved providers across the U.S.A and around the world, including clinics, hospitals, and even mobile collection units. When you order your test, we make the appointment on your behalf at a time and place most convenient for each tested party. Participants in the test can have their DNA collected at different times and/or in separate locations.
Q: Does getting a legal paternity test change the birth certificate?
A: Getting a legal paternity test done does not in itself change the birth certificate, but the legal proof of paternity provided by this test may be used to request a change with the Department of Vital Records or other entity where you live.
Q: Do all courts accept results from a legal paternity test?
A: Not all courts accept results from a legal paternity test—whether or not a report is accepted as proof of paternity is up to each individual judge. However, when a court accepts results from a DNA test as proof of paternity, that test must be a legal one and not a home one.
Q: Does the mother need to be included in a paternity test?
A: In most cases, a mother’s DNA is not necessary to obtain conclusive results for a paternity test. However, there are occasions when her DNA is helpful in strengthening results, and the lab will suspend testing and request a sample from the mother. If possible, it’s best for the mother to submit her sample upfront to prevent delays if her DNA turns out to be needed.