How to Provide a Legally Admissible DNA Paternity Test to the Courts

If you have to prove – or disprove – your paternity in a legal setting, there are ironclad ways to do so. One of the most conclusive ways to do so is to provide the courts with the results of a DNA paternity test, but you need to ensure that the test is admissible in a court of law.

While you can get a non-binding DNA paternity test done at any number of labs or hospitals across the country, unless you have a third party that is an independent and professional specimen collector take the initial DNA sample from you and/or from the child that may or may not be your offspring. This professional needs to be present in order to verify that the chain of custody of any samples collected aren’t broken, which would expose them to possible tampering.

What this means is that in most jurisdictions you can’t get away with simply purchasing a home-DNA testing kit and collecting your own sample before sending it in through the mail – the court simply won’t recognize the test as valid. However, there are some places that will allow a home-DNA kit if you have a neutral third party observe you collect your DNA sample and transport it directly to a facility for processing; doing so will keep the chain of custody unbroken and should make the results of your DNA test admissible in a court of law.

It’s this chain of custody that makes your DNA test results legally binding. Courts take chain of custody matters very seriously, as without having your DNA sample being accounted for at all times this opens up the possibility of the sample being tampered with or switched out for the DNA of someone else; both such eventualities would completely invalidate the test and result in a miscarriage of justice. Even after the test has been carried out properly and you’ve been notified of the results, you need to provide all relevant paperwork to the courts in order to show them the results; in many situations, you cannot submit a scanned or photocopied version of the documents but instead need to supply the originals. In many cases, you may need to request the lab conducting the tests to send you one set of results directly and another set to the courts.

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