The legal paternity test is rather different to the home paternity test. Generally, people opt for the latter test as they are only seeking peace of mind and want to resolve some pending doubts. The legal paternity test is done when one wishes to take matters to a court of law.

Sometimes a legal test can actually be a court-ordered paternal testing; in other words, the judge is the one who orders the people involved to take a paternity test. In other cases, the test may actually take place before any court-proceedings have begun. If you are still pregnant and wish to establish paternity before the baby is born, you will not be able to provide results of a prenatal paternity test in court. You will have to wait until the baby is born as courts will not accept the results of such a test. Why? Well, because prenatal tests carry certain risks for the unborn baby and no court would want to encourage mothers to undergo anything that would endanger the baby’s life.

Clearly, a legal DNA paternity test is done when there are issues of for example child custody or visitation. Other reasons include:

• Child maintenance; a father might refuse to provide for a child because he believes that child not to be his.
• Changing the name of the father on a birth certificate.

How is the legal paternity test done?

First and foremost, the legal DNA paternity test comes at a considerably higher cost that the at-home paternity test. This is one good reason to choose the at-home paternity test: you first need to confirm your suspicions and then if they are confirmed, you can go ahead with a legal paternity test.

The legal paternity test follows what is known as a chain of custody. This means that DNA sampling is done as follows:

• A doctor/qualified nurse or other professional will be appointed to actually take your samples
• The people taking part in the test will not be able to handle their own swabs
• There is a very strict sample verification and authentication process in place; test participants will need to take along identification and photos. The professional involved will need to declare that the people from who the samples have been taken are those who are legitimately involved in the test.

The legal paternity test is thus cheat proof and moreover, ensures that there is no mistake in the DNA sampling.