Establishing paternity (fatherhood) can get tricky in the legal world since being the “legal” father can be distinctly different than being the “biological” father. Fatherhood is usually determined first by marriage. Although all states have differing laws for establishing paternity, most state laws say that if a married woman gives birth to a child, the husband is the “legal” father. But what happens if the woman isn’t married? This is where establishing paternity can get complicated.
Though most children are born to a mother and a father, the CDC reported in 2012 that out of the almost 4 million U.S. births, 40.7% of those children were born to an unmarried mother. When an unmarried woman needs to establish paternity for the sake of child support and child custody, she usually has two options.
- The first option for establishing paternity when there is no “legal” father is by voluntary declaration of paternity. Both parties, mother and father, voluntarily sign and consent to being the child’s legal parents and are in agreement that the other is also the parent.
- The other option is to establish paternity through a court order. This is where the legal paternity test comes into play.
Legal Paternity Testing
In order to prove paternity for court purposes, a legal paternity test is usually necessary. A legal paternity test requires a chain-of-custody process whereby a third-party Collector verifies participating individuals’ identity, witnesses DNA collection and then sends the samples to directly to the testing laboratory. This process ensures that no party has tampered with samples and prevents any other fraudulent activities. Once results are received at the lab, the DNA from the father, child and sometimes mother is compared and results are released to the participants.
The DDC Legal Paternity Test
HomeDNA Paternity’s parent company, DDC, offers a legal paternity test that is affordable and convenient. Here’s what you can expect if you start the legal paternity test process with us.
- First, you need to call DDC. During this phone call, a DNA sample-collection appointment is set up at a location near you
- We send all testing supplies directly to your collector prior to the collection appointment. If you’ve already purchased an at-home kit from the store, we’ll credit your account
- Next, you need to attend your collection appointment with a government-issued photo ID (for adults) and a photo (for children)
- Your collector verifies the identity of each participant, helps you fill out the order form and sample envelopes, witnesses DNA collection and then sends your samples to our lab
- Results are ready online two (2) business days after the samples arrive at our laboratory.
There is only one real difference between at-home tests and legal paternity tests. That difference is in the method in collecting the DNA samples. As already mentioned, a legal paternity test needs a chain-of-custody to withstand in court, whereas a home test (not for legal purposes) can be collected (unsupervised) in the privacy of your home.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter! If you have questions about paternity tests or other DNA testing services, please contact our Client Support Center at 888-404-4363, Mon-Fri from 9 AM to 6 PM Eastern Time. Our friendly, expert representatives are ready and happy to help. Get answers anytime by visiting our Help Center.
My son myself and his mother were tested at the courthouse and the result was 96.35%….will this number hold up in court? I have been ordered to pay child support
The result itself is considered inconclusive, meaning a solid “yes” or “no” answer was not attainable. Is there any other person in question as the alleged father? If so, you may want to consider having any other potential fathers tested as well. It is up to the court if the results will be valid. Some courts may require court admissible results, which means a third party would need to administer the test and collections while other courts take any result paper and count it as valid. You may want to contact the court and see their stance on paternity testing. If you have any more questions, please call us at 1-888-404-GENE, Monday-Friday 9AM-6PM ET. Thank you for your comment!
HI, if the result is less than 100% should I retest, or does that mean the kid is not mine?
How do the percentages work/mean.
The results can be a little difficult to read and understand but here are a few examples that may help:
If it reads: is excluded as the biological, the Combined Parentage Index (CPI) is 0 and has a 0% of probability. This means that he cannot be the father because the analysis shows that they do not share a paternity relationship.
Or if it reads: is not excluded as the biological father, the Combined Parentage Index (CPI) would be 100 or higher and is between 99% – 99.99% probability. This means that he is considered to be the father because the analysis shows that they share a paternity relationship.
DNA tests can never show a full 100% probability of relationship.
How would this home test work if the opposite party lives in another state?
If you want to complete a DNA test for personal reasons, the DNA Paternity Test collection kit is perfect for you, and there are several options for sending in your samples. The personal DNA Paternity Test kit can be purchased at your local Wal-Mart, Rite Aid and CVS pharmacies. The kit includes all supplies necessary to submit samples for 1 alleged father, 1 child, and the biological mother (optional). You can send the collection materials to the person who lives in another state so they can collect their samples, or they can simply buy their own kit to collect their samples.
You can either have the other person send the samples to you so that you can send all of the samples in at the same time, or they can be sent in to us separately. If samples are going to be sent in to our lab from separate locations, we recommend that you call us to pre-pay for the testing so that we can give you a case number to write on all of the specimen envelopes. This will help to ensure that all of the samples are linked to the same case when they arrive at our lab. You can also order a Personal DNA Paternity Test Kit directly from us over the phone and we will send kit supplies to each person directly.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, or need a legal test, or are interested in purchasing a kit directly from us, please feel free to contact us 888-404-4363 and we will be happy to assist you.
I need answers my boyfriend n some woman had took a home DNA test the child doesn’t look anything like my boyfriend the baby looks exactly like the woman other baby father but the DNA test came back that my father was the dad n it also said that the othe man was the dad so what do we need to do
Good question Miko,
It is not possible for a child to have two fathers. Our best recommendation is to do a test with both of the alleged fathers, the child in question, and the mother of the child on one case. We always encourage our customers to be present and witness all of the samples being collected, placed in the specimen envelopes, as well as accompanying the samples directly to the mailing facility. This will ensure everyone is secure in the fact that the correct samples were sent off.
The other option you have is to have a Legal DNA test. Legal DNA testing requires your samples to be collected by an uninterested third party. This is most easily accomplished by going to a collection facility. We have a database of DNA collection facilities nationwide, or we may also be able to assist in setting up the collection with a local doctor.
For a DNA test to be processed for legal purposes we also require identification for each person, including a birth certificate for anyone who is underage and does not have a current state or federal photo ID. A current picture of each participant is also required and is usually taken at the time of the collection appointment.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, or are interested in having us assist you with your legal testing needs, please feel free to contact us 888-404-4363 and we will be happy to assist you.
my dhilds father and I did a test in 2011, it is now 2015 . I was wondering how long results are in your records and how I can get a copy as he was the only one to recive a copy of the results.
We hold results on file for up to 7 years if your test was in 2011. For online access, or a copy by mail, please call us at 888-404-4363 and we will be happy to assist you.
My husband is incarcerated and we did a change of last made to my son but in order to get the birth certificate im being asked for a DNA test. I know I need a legal test so how do I go by doing that since he is still in jail? I need it urgently…
Our best recommendation would be to contact the jail to see if they will allow a DNA test to be done. If they do agree, you can contact us at 888-404-4363 and we can help you set up a legal Paternity test, as well as mail the supplies to the jail. I hope this information helps. Please contact us for further assistance with your testing needs.
Question: My son’s deceased (paternal) half-brother T fathered a daughter in France when he was a student in the 1990s. T’s mother and her extended family refuse to acknowledge this girl as T’s biological daughter. The French mother wants to have a DNA Paternity test if possible. Problem: the father of T and my son is deceased, also, and none of the other males in that family will participate in DNA testing for the benefit of this young French girl — for fear of upsetting T’s mother. My son has now offered to provide DNA sample if it would help establish the girl’s relationship. How can we help ?
Good afternoon Faith,
We do have other testing options when the alleged father is not available such as: Grandparent DNA (alleged father’s parents), Sibling DNA (alleged father’s other children), and Avuncular DNA (alleged father’s brother/ sister) tests. These other types of tests are considered family reconstruction testing. To ensure that you select the correct test for your situation we recommend you contact us at your earliest convenience.
I have provided a link to additional testing information. If you have any additional questions or concerns, or are interested in having us assist you with your DNA testing needs, please feel free to contact us at 888-404-4363 and we will be happy to assist you.
Frank M says
What if the mother is married but the child isn’t her husbands and wants to do a DNA test for the biological father to change his name n become the legal father?
Hi, Frank. That’s a difficult question. Every state has different guidelines for determine who is the legal father…sometimes that decision isn’t changed even though a DNA test proves the child is someone else’s. I suggest reading this blog on the subject, and then get legal help to see what your state does: http://dnatesting.com/paternity-fraud-the-tough-realities-men-must-face/
Jane Doe says
My sons girlfriend has a 4 year old but refuses to have her name changed could I buy this test and have my son and my granddaughter to get tested without her knowledge or is that illegal!
Hi! If your son is on the birth certificate, then yes. If not, then the mother must give signed consent for the child to be tested or we cannot do it. Hope this helps!
Patrick Howe says
My father is deceased. I never knew him. I was lookIng for him at the same members of his family looked for me. I was only child. Now I wish to have his name on my birth certificate (which is currently blank), in order to make an application for an Irish passport. My mother is still alive and one of my half-sisters has offered to give DNA sample. Will this be enough to prove paternity to a court and get his name on my birth certificate.
Patrick, do you and your half-sister share a mother or father? This makes a big difference in whether or not a DNA test can determine a biological relationship between you and your deceased father. I highly recommend you contact us directly to consult with one of our experts and talk through your options! Our number is 888-404-4363 and our hours are 9 AM to 5:30 PM Eastern Time. Good luck!
Patrick Howe says
Different mothers. Same father.
What would I need in order to convince a court to order the re-registration of a birth certificate? We are all pretty certain he is my father. It as much a matter of identity as just a passport. My mother would be able to help as well as my half sister; we share the same father although that is where I need get some proof.
Since every state can have different requirements, I highly recommend you contact your state’s department of vital records and/or the passport agency nearest to where you live. But my best educated guess is that they may require a DNA test.
Patrick Howe says
Yes, no doubt, we would all be prepared to give a DNA sample. But as I was asking before; would DNA samples taken FROM my mother, myself and from a potential half-sister(different mothers, her father who is dead is my potential father. Which is why we’re testing) Would this be enough to determine LEGALLY(in order to place my fathers’ name on my birth certificate) paternity?
Is proving having a half sibling as good as proving paternity. If you know the mothers are different and one half-sibling knew her father.
Would finding a different family member from the potential fathers side, ie. his brother or a sister, be a more suitable DNA candidate to prove paternity?
I would like to do this once and not have to pay more than I have to to get the most accurate test with the resources I have, to prove paternity in the way that would be considered legal in court if indeed the findings were that he was my father.
You’re asking a legal question, so I highly recommend you ask your state’s department of vital statistics. As far as testing goes, it’s optimal to have known first-degree members of the alleged father participate in testing, yes.
I asked the mother of my alleged daughter to take a DNA test. She angrily and hatefully said no. I am not listed as father on birth certificate. I would not have asked for a DNA test unless I had many many very good reasons to ask.
What is my next step? take the mother to court and get a DNA test?
Hi, Peter. You have it exactly right. Good luck!
my son just told us that he has fathered a boy….. she show us the dNA results by a picture of 99.999996%
I have read and read but i still feel that it maybe wrong can you clear this up by explaining to me if show this percent that he is truly the father of the child my son said he had done at a dr’s office with mother and the child there.
Hi, Victoria. A 99.99999% paternity result is the most conclusive probability you can get. The reason it can never be 100% is because in order to get that probability we’d have to test your son against every man in the world! You can be confident that the child is indeed your grandson.
Hello sir/mam ,
I am 30 years old,I want to know If me and my parents (my mom and dad) don’t want to doing DNA testing because I have sufficient proofs like,school certificates and college certificates but my mom’s brother (my uncle) forced to us for do the DNA test and apply in the civil court,so I want to know is it possible to court give permission ?????sir Please reply me as soon as possible.
Hi, Jit. The court will determine whether or not there is a need for a paternity test.
willie george says
i want to know if i can get an d.n.a test done if i live in one state and the mother and son live in a different state?
Hi, Willie. Yes, you definitely can. In fact, we do it all the time. You can contact IDENTIGENE by phone at 1-(888)404-4363 and prepay for your test. We can send collection materials to each participant in each state – please keep your kit for yourself or local participant who will be tested. Each participant can send their samples to us separately. We’ll make sure that all the samples are linked to the same case as we receive them.
Please note if a paternity test is for legal purposes, such as child support or immigration, then a witnessed collection is required. You will need to call us and we’ll arrange for the test and required collection appointments.
Jimmy L Cash says
Yes me and my girlfriend had a little boy in 2013 and she said she cheated on me that he wasnt mine it brokr my heart because doctors said i couldnt have kids and last night i find out that my ex done a paternity test and it is mine. So can she do one without me now we are in different states now. She has had no contact with me until now when i found out i asked are u sure and she said yes that she didnt want me in her or her sons life since the baby wasn’t mine. I just want to know the truth if hes mine i want my rights she did me wrong. I tought i could never have kids so this would be a miracle i have always wanted kids i cant believe if this is true why would she do this to me. Desperately seeking answers. Thank you
Hi, Jimmy. I don’t see how your ex could have done a paternity test on the child without your knowing, since your DNA is required for testing. So I’m not sure what to tell you about that. If you want to have visitation with the child, I suggest you contact a family-law attorney in your state and have them petition the court for a new paternity test. That way, you can find out for sure. And if the child really is yours, you can be in his life. Good luck!
Jono Lyons says
I have had a legal paternity test for my daughter and have a court date July 5th. Her mother has recently came to me with CDC titled papers saying they are from the court saying I a 0% match. This is before the court date she says I will receive something in the mail “opting me out” of the court date on the 5th. Is this true? Can she really go in there and ask before I can?
Hi, Jono. This is a question best answered by a family-law attorney in your area.
There was a blood test appointed by the courts in the Year 2007 for my son and the alleged father. The results from the paternity test came back positive he is the father. Now this year 2017 I received a letter from the court stating that we will have to go back to court to re-establish paternity why is this happening? If we already have a blood test on file stating he is the father why should we have to do a new blood test I don’t understand?
Hi, Corey. I can only speculate that the father is trying to contest the original results? You should call and ask why, probably.
Hello, Are both parents have to present at the same appointment? My son’s father and I aren’t together.
Hi, Kelsea. Unless the court mandates it, then no. In fact, we set up DNA collection appointments for test participants who live in different states all the time. If you have more questions or want to set up a legal paternity test, please contact our parent company DDC at 800-681-7162.
My question. A girl my boyfriend was with before me is saying he is the father but wont get or do paternity test. She has since gotten a warrant for her arrest we live in 2 different states. She abandoned her children at her mothers house before running from the warrant. How does my boyfriend go about getting paternity to get the baby with us? The grandmother wants us to get the child but we need to know what to do. Does this indigent testing hold up as far as court and getting the baby
Hi! Your boyfriends needs to consult with a family-law attorney or legal service to see what can be done in the state where the child resides. Paternity laws vary from state to state. No doubt your boyfriend would need to have a paternity test done…it must be a legal, witnessed test (which we can arrange for you if you call) and not an at-home test. Good luck!
I’m 24 and I just found out who my real father is. I’ve attempted to reach out and he wants nothing to do with me, is there anyway I can force him, legally to submit a paternity test? I don’t need any money or anything, I just want his last name, I want to be recognized as his own
Hi, Amanda. That’s a question for a family-law attorney. Good luck!
If my ex and i have a no contact order and I want to prove he’s not the father, can I bring my son in and have them collect his sample and then have my ex come in at a different time? Will this hold up in a termination case in court?
Hi, Kelsey. As long as both the child’s and the alleged father’s DNA collection and submission to the lab are supervised by an approved witness (legal paternity testing), it doesn’t matter if they do it at the same time or not. It’s essential that you have a legal test done, however, or results won’t be court-admissible. If you contact us, we can set up everything for testing in your area: 800-344-9583.
Hi , My son’s Father did a home Dna test when my son was just born and it came back 43.6555 did that have something to do with the fact that he was a newborn and they had to put medicine in his mouth?
Hi, Tyra. With today’s technology, an accredited lab should only return results of 99% or higher for an inclusion or 0% for an exclusion…nothing in between. So I’m a bit confused why you would have been given such a result. If the baby’s sample had been contaminated by the medicine, a lab should suspend testing and ask for new samples without issuing results. Something’s fishy here. You may want to consider doing a new test, making sure it’s with an accredited and well-regarded lab.
My daughter is 25 in Dec. of this year.
She is trying to get the man (my ex) that I think is her dad, to do a DNA test, which he has agreed to do , But he is keeps putting us off. Not sure why? She does not want anything, she just wants to know . We know where he lives and works , but we do not want to be a stocker .
What do you think ?
Hi, Lisa. You could ask him why he seems to be putting it off, and then leave it at that. If and when he’s ready, he will. Good luck!
My son started dating a girl who was already 2 months pregnant, they both knew from the beginning that the child was not his, they got engaged and when she had the child my son was put on the birth certificate and gave the child his last name. He then joined the Army and planned on getting married but she began seeing someone else, when he became aware of this, needless to say the wedding was off. We just did a legal DNA of him and the child, she was very agreeable with everything, she was even going to be tested but she did not have her ID. I told him to get with JAG in the Army and see what can be done to get this legally reversed, what are your suggestions?
Sounds like he’s doing the right thing, starting with JAG.
i live in PA the IRS needs my grandsons father to take a paternity test since he is not on the birth certificate. they are owed a return from 2016.do you know if any are free? what type does he need
Hi, Natalie. Your daughter needs to order a legal, witnessed paternity test for her son and the alleged father so that the IRS can be sure the DNA submitted for testing truly is theirs. The IRS would not accept results from an at-home test. Identigene can arrange this test, but it needs to be ordered by someone with legal authority to act on behalf of the minor child. The number is 800-344-9583.
I have been with my fiance for 8 yrs we have a 6 yr old son together and there is this girl that claims she have a son with my fiance and he is 2 at the moment, I have asked her for a DNA test to prove to us that her son is my hubbys child but she has refused what can I do about this issue?
Hi, Jc. When someone refuses, the courts may compel the person to do so, if the court thinks there is enough reason to order a test. You should seek the advice of a family-law attorney.
we are interested in a grandparent dna test with presume granddaughter living in a separate state.
Hi, Valerie. Per our terms and conditions, you need permission from a legal guardian to do testing, if your granddaughter is a minor. I assume the alleged father is not available to test? If that’s the case, it’s best if the mother can also submit her DNA for testing. The fact that your granddaughter lives in another state is not a problem: simply call us at 800-344-9583, and we can make arrangements for the test and send DNA collection materials to all parties.
I dont know what to do. First i was with a man who used me and made me to be with him, locked me in his house, he is alcoholic and he likes to play in cassino often.(terrible memories about him) And i was 2 months prrgnant when i left him. Some time later i met my actual partner(we aren’t married) and my son was born. My actual partner is not the biological father but he is on my son’s birth certificate. We are living together. And we are a happy family. But the problem is my ‘ex’ wants to be the father of our child and he wants to do a paternity test. What should i do? My son is 2 years old. Is it to late to do the test? I am so stressed about it, help me please
Hi, Mummy. I can understand why you’re stressed and hope I can help. We are not a legal service, so we recommend that you get legal advice, but here are some of the basics of what we know: You are under no obligation to agree to a test if he requests it. In most states, there is a 2-year window of opportunity if a man wants to establish paternity, so it sounds as if you’re past that deadline. He can always petition in court for a test, but chances are good since your partner is on the birth certificate and has accepted legal responsibility for the child that the man would be denied his request.
I am married, I was separated and still is, when my son was conceived with another man, I know by law my husband is considered to be the legal father but what happens if the biological father wants to take a paternity test and I don’t want to. I don’t want him in our lives can I be forced to take the test. If I don’t go after him for child support and no one but myself is on the birth certificate will he be out of the picture legally
HomeDNA Identigene says
Hi, Nicole. The only way this man can compel you to test is through a court order. Until a court orders you to test, you are under no obligation to do so.
I have a six month old son and my boyfriend is on his birth certificate and my son has his last name. But there is another guy that is a possibility to be my son father but now he is coming around and wants to get a dna test done. He said he went to family court and I will be getting served next week to come and get a dna test done. Is he allowed to? Do I have to get the test done ? What if he ends up being the father? Will my boyfriend have to take his name off of the birth certificate is he isn’t biologically his? Makes me mad that he is now wanting to get a test done when my boyfriend is certain my son is his and no I didn’t cheat on him it was before we weee togehter
HomeDNA Identigene says
Hi, Cassie. In most states, a man has two years to contest paternity. If the court deems that he has a viable case, then they may indeed order a paternity test. If you refuse, there’s a good chance the court will rule in the man’s favor, so it’s best just to do the test. As for taking the name off the birth certificate, that is a separate matter for the court to decide.
Hello, I am currently in a situation where I (the biological father) want to give my child (claimed by a different person at birth) my last name and be legally recognized as their father. The child was born in a different state than the one we both currently reside in, the mother is more than willing to make this happen. so I ask, in order to make this possible, what are some good steps to take to get the process in motion and what does the scope of work look like in the end?
HomeDNA Identigene says
Hi, JL. Those questions are better answered by a family-law attorney where you live.