How to Ensure Your DNA Paternity Test Is Legally Valid

Anyone can get a DNA test done in order to determine paternity, as long as they can afford it. The list of testing labs that offer DNA fingerprint comparison services is long and exhaustive; however, not every DNA testing lab can offer someone the certainty that the results of its testing are going to be admissible in a court of law.

There are some key considerations to keep in mind if you want to provide a legally valid DNA paternity test for the purposes of determining whether or not those tested are considered legally proven to be father and child. This is because of the fact that the test results need to be considered a piece of valid evidence for a court proceeding, and the only way that the results can be verified as legal evidence is to ensure that the chain of custody of those results is intact in the same way as any other piece of evidence.

What this means for anyone who wants to have a DNA paternity test conducted is that the requirements of an unbroken chain of custody must be met before the test can be considered legally valid. This involves having your test done by a facility that offers testing that complies with chain of custody guidelines. While these requirements will vary from one jurisdiction to another, they generally involve the presence of a neutral third party at the time of sample collection to not only ensure that the specimens are gathered properly, labeled clearly, and then sealed and stored before being sent off to the lab via courier but that the identities of those being tested are verifiable. This usually means that photographs of the test subjects are taken and that any adults have their driver licenses or other form of photo ID recorded. In some cases those being tested may also need to submit their Social Security numbers as well.

The best way to ensure that the lab you’re using will follow the chain of custody requirements is to use one that has been fully accredited by the AABB, the industry body that represents labs that conduct these types of genetic paternity tests. A list of AABB accredited testing facilities is available from the organization’s website.

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