The Legal Paternity Test is normally required when the result of the test is to be used in a court of law for legal and official purposes. The actual legal paternity test result (also referred to as a court admissible paternity test) will of course be the same as that of home paternity – since the same DNA testing methodology is used. Therefore what is actual the difference between a home and legal paternity test ?
Sample Collection and Chain of Custody
The sample collection in a legal paternity test must follow a strict chain of custody procedure to ensure the integrity of the final paternity test result. Immigration DNA testing follows very much the same sampling procedure as a legal test. The procedure therefore requires that a third party independent person (also referred to as the Sampler) collects the samples and verifies the identities of the parties tested through official documentation. This will ensure that the samples received by the Laboratory are of the persons reported in the final result.
In addition, the Sampler will be responsible for sending off the results once again to ensure no tampering with the samples. The Sampler is normally a qualified nurse or medical doctor. There are no specific laws about who can collect the samples for the paternity test, however specialists in the health field are preferred.
In a home paternity test, the samples are collected by the individuals who order the test themselves and therefore there is the possibility of abuse or to cheat by submitting the samples of another person. The laboratory cannot therefore certify the veracity of the identity of the samples and will normally state in the report that the result cannot be used for legal purposes. The home paternity test is therefore mainly used for curiosity purposes.
On the other hand, in a legal paternity test, the result is normally certified by a public notary to confirm that the laboratory is happy that the chain of custody has been maintained. It is on the basis of the unbroken chain of custody that makes the legal paternity test useful in court and beyond doubt of having been tampered with.
When do I need a Legal Paternity Test ?
A legal test is normally requested when the parties tested are in court case and proof of biological relationship is required – such as for example in the case of child support or maintenance where they may be a dispute of the paternity of the child. The use of a standard paternity test may raise issues about the authenticity of the result by either of the parties – or the judge himself – therefore it is prudent in such cases to perform a legal test.
However a legal DNA test may also be requested outside of the court of law and simply because the parties do not trust each other to perform correctly the home test. Therefore in such cases it is recommended that the legal test is performed – and in this way neither of the parties can dispute the results. It is next to impossible to cheat on a legal paternity test if an independent third party samples is used.
The sample procedure for the legal paternity test also forms the basis of the sample methodology for an immigration DNA test – although with this type of test the sample collection may need to be carried out at an embassy or pre-approved location.
What is the cost of Legal Paternity Test ?
The legal version of the test is normally more expensive than the standard paternity test because of the increased responsibility of the laboratory in certifying the samples. In addition, apart from the cost of the test, one normally also has to pay for the service of the Sampler. The cost of the sample collection will vary depending on who you use. Normally the laboratory will only charge for the testing and the client will need to pay the additional collection fees although some laboratories are able to organize the sample collection through a third party collection agency. If in doubt, or need assistance, you should clarify with the laboratory in advance of ordering the DNA test.
Therefore when deciding which paternity test is more suitable for your requirements, it is important to understand the difference between the legal paternity test and a home test.