Legally-Admissible Paternity Tests
What is a Legally-Admissible DNA Test?
Legally-admissible paternity tests are valid and defensible as evidence—typically for child support, custody, visitation and adoption cases—in all Superior Courts throughout the United States. These so-called “legal tests,” which are also referred to as “Chain-of-Custody” tests, are also accepted by various agencies that require proof of paternity before granting certain benefits, such as the Social Security Administration (Social Security survivor benefits), the IRS (tax benefits), the U.S. Department of State and U.S.C.IS. (immigration), the U.S. Armed Forces (military benefits), and Native American tribal councils. For these DNA tests, (1) participants are identified photographically; (2) written consent is obtained by the tested parties, their legal guardian, or court order; (3) samples are collected and processed under a strict chain of custody by neutral third parties; and (4) genetic analysis is performed using state-of-the-art forensic DNA typing technology, all in strict compliance with the AABB Standards for Relationship Testing Laboratories. LB Genetics ensures that its legally-admissible paternity tests are 100% accurate by employing rigorous quality control measures, including and duplicate (double-blind) testing of all samples.
For legally-admissible paternity tests, LB Genetics’ test results include the following documents:
- DNA Relationship Test Report. This document summarizes the laboratory findings, including the genetic profiles of each test participant, the Combined Paternity Index and the Probability of Paternity.
- Declaration of the Custodian of Records. In accordance with California Family Code 7552.5, this document certifies the identification of the test participants, the collection and chain-of-custody of the samples, the qualifications of the lab Director, and the preparation and authenticity of the test results. This declaration facilitates the acceptance of the results into evidence in a court of law.
- Sample Identification and Chain-of-Custody Records. These documents include the photographs and thumbprints of each test participant obtained at the time of sample collection, and the verification of sample identification, collection, packaging and receipt by the personnel who performed these steps.
- Explanation of Results. A detailed explanation regarding DNA testing and interpretation of the test results is included for both paternity and maternity tests.
About At-Home Paternity Tests
In contrast to legally-admissible paternity tests, Personal Knowledge Paternity Tests, or “personal tests,” which include tests performed on samples collected using home paternity test kits, are NOT valid as evidence in a court of law or as official proof of family relationships. In most cases, this is because the samples are not collected under a strict chain of custody by a neutral third party, so the origin of the samples cannot be verified. In other words, the laboratory simply tests the samples that are submitted, but has not verified who the samples were actually collected from. As a result, personal knowledge paternity tests do not meet, and are therefore not covered by, the rigorous standards of accreditation agencies—such as AABB—that are approved by the courts and other government agencies. For these reasons, personal knowledge DNA tests are NOT recommended if you think you might want to later present the results in court or to another government agency, corporate authority, or judicial officer.
For more information, please call us today at +1-714-648-0468.
By: Dr. John Taddie