Legal paternity testing is done by those who need court validity with regards to their paternity test result. Normally, most DNA tests are done at home and are thus, referred to as at-home paternity tests; these tests have no legal validity as people involved in the test are responsible for taking their samples and may thus, take them incorrectly or cheat.

When is it necessary to seek a legal paternity test?

Legal paternity testing is done for a number of reasons amongst which:

•   Cases of Custody
•   Inheritance
•   Immigration
•   Child Support paternity testing

The legal paternity test (or court admissible paternity test) follows what is known as a chain of custody and this involves a documentation process of all the people and DNA sample involved. To be able to fully comply with the steps entailed in the chain of custody, a sampler must be appointed (a sampler is basically the person who is responsible for collecting the DNA samples and must, by law, be entirely neutral to all test participants). Normally, a lawyer, doctor or nurse would be recommended and the cost of the sampler is not-included in the cost of the test.

Who is tested in the court ordered paternity test?

To maximize the accuracy of the result (the ‘probability of paternity’) it is always recommend having the trio test involving mother, child and putative father. In cases where the mother is unavailable for testing, a motherless paternity test can still be done.

Testing is done using mouth swabs or buccal swabs. The sampler will be the person who will be rubbing these swabs into the mouths of the test participants, placing them back into the appropriate envelopes and sending everything back for laboratory testing. Test participants will need to bring passport photos and identification and the sampler will need to declare in writing that the people taking part in the test are the ones in the passport photos and in the corresponding identification chosen (passport, identity card or birth certificate).

Legal paternity testing must unfailingly adhere to the “chain of custody”; the costs involved are higher and should you require such a test always fully consult the DNA testing company before hand- they may be able to suggest alternatives or guide you through the whole thing and alleviate much of the stress.