Is a Legal DNA Paternity Test Necessary?
Women who seek to establish the paternity of their child have two options available to them: an in home paternity test and a legal DNA paternity test. The in home paternity test, true to its name, can be conducted in home and requires no specialists or notarized paper trail to validate the test results. The purpose of this test is for general knowledge, and the results would not be admissible in a court of law. The other option is a legal DNA paternity test, and can only be performed by specialists with the results sent to a laboratory for analysis and validation. This kind of test is the only kind that can stand up in a court of law.
Is a legal DNA Paternity test necessary for your particular situation? The answer to that question depends upon what you intend to do with the results of the test. If you just want to know the test results for general knowledge, and do not intend to use them to invoke legal claims of any kind, then an in home test would be sufficient. If, however, you need the test results to substantiate documentation that would be relevant in a court of law, then you should avail yourself of a legal DNA Paternity test.
One situation where you might need a legal DNA Paternity test is if you have been with more than one partner. In this case you might want to be able to identify with absolute certainty the real father of your child. This is not a scenario hat you want to leave to mere guesswork. A legal DNA Paternity test would also be needed in a situation where you are divorced, and it’s expected that your ex-husband will be making child support payments. Only the results of a legal DNA Paternity test would be legally binding upon your ex husband and force him to make good on his child support payments.
Your child’s future welfare, in fact, depends in many ways on positive identification of his or her identity. Entitlement programs such as social security, Medicare and Medicaid rely on positive identification of the bearer of the policy. Additionally, any future legal challenges regarding wills or inheritances can only be resolved through the positive identification of paternity provided by a legal DNA test. Even if you needed only to change the name of the child on the birth certificate, a legal DNA Paternity test would be your best option. DNA testing is considered 99.99% accurate, an unmatched level of accuracy.
A final useful benefit of a legal DNA paternity test is the role that it serves in establishing a Chain of custody. The Chain of custody is a paper trail that tracks how legal evidence is collected, transferred and disposed of. Within the context of paternity testing, the Chain of Custody will make the test results admissible in a court of law.
Legal DNA Paternity tests follow strict procedures to ensure their validity. In contrast to the in home paternity test, you will usually need to be present at an official testing facility to have your DNA samples collected. The tests are performed by trained professionals affiliated with laboratories that are accredited by AABB (American Association of Blood Banks) or ISO (International Organization for Standardization); these organizations impose rigorous quality control standards on DNA testing laboratories. AABB, for example, insists that objective, independent professionals conduct the test; additionally photographs of those individuals conducting the test will need to be submitted as well.
Tests are usually conducted with all three relevant parties: the mother, the child and the alleged father. In some cases, the tests may be conducted with the child and the alleged father alone. However, if the results are for legal purposes the courts will usually insist that the mother be tested as well.
Test results are signed by medical or science professionals at the laboratory, and then are notarized and returned to you within a matter of days. In the end, a legal DNA Paternity test is certainly less “convenient” than an in home paternity test; but for legal benefits of any kind, it’s the only viable option.