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Paternity Testing


It's now possible to create a genetic fingerprint or DNA profile that identifies a person and his or her biological parents. DNA profiling is a technique of extracting and analyzing genetic material from cells and can be used in child custody and divorce cases.

Paternity Testing Requirements

Typically, for paternity testing, consent forms must be signed by both the adults and custodial parent of the minor child being tested. Valid identification is also required. Adults must have a government-issued ID such as a driver's license, passport or military ID.

For minor children, parents are required to present a birth certificate or Social Security card for identification. To prevent paternity fraud, the identification is photocopied with a photograph and thumbprint of each person tested.

Collecting a DNA Sample

To collect DNA samples for paternity testing is typically through a buccal smear, or cheek swab. Cheek swabs are a non-invasive way to collect DNA material for accurate paternity testing. In most cases, samples from the child, potential father and mother are tested.

In cases involving an unborn child, blood or umbilical fluid from the mother can be used to extract DNA to compare to the potential father's DNA. To check paternity after a child's birth, blood from either the umbilical cord or the infant's cheek can be used for paternity testing.

Paternity Results and Documentation

After the DNA samples are collected, the samples are sent to a laboratory for DNA paternity testing. The results are generally available within a week.

DNA testing laboratories, such as the DNA Diagnostics Center, are accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks and perform DNA paternity tests using a Chain of Custody documentation process. The Chain of Custody process is the standard that satisfies the legal requirements for test results to be admissible in court.

The results of DNA paternity tests done by an accredited laboratory can include the father of a child with 99.99% accuracy or exclude a potential father completely.

Connect with a Divorce Attorney to Learn about Paternity Testing

Speak with a local divorce lawyer to learn more about your state laws dealing with paternity testing. Connect with a divorce attorney near you to get legal advice on your paternity test case. Fill out a divorce case review form or call 877-249-1310 to set up a preliminary consultation today. Even if you paternity case doesn't involve divorce, you can still help you find a local attorney familiar with family law.

Case Evaluation

The above synopsis of paternity testing is by no means all-inclusive and is not intended to provide legal advice. These laws may have changed since our last update and there may be additional laws that apply in your situation. For the latest information on these divorce laws, please contact a local divorce lawyer in your area.