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Legal Issues Regarding Paternity Tests

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Choose a legal paternity test if you need the results to be admissible in court. With this method of evaluation, you will not receive or have any kind of access to the samples. Instead, whoever takes the samples sends them directly to a laboratory.

The following criteria must be met in order for you to be able to use the test results in court. Establish the chain of custody by properly following the first six requirements.

* An approved impartial third party must collect test samples. Approved third parties can include phlebotomists, doctors, medical technicians, lawyers, lawyer's assistants, and paralegals.

* Both the biological mother and the alleged father have to provide valid photo IDs and social security numbers.

* The biological mother and the alleged father must both provide fingerprints and submit to having their pictures taken.

* The test results are notarized.

* All parties sign identification and consent forms. The legal guardian of the child should sign their form.

* All samples are carefully tracked throughout the entire testing process. The chain of custody has to be upheld.

There are several situations requiring a legal paternity test. Court admissible results will be required in child support matters in order to determine who is financially responsible for a child. With child visitation rights, a legal paternity test is required so the court will know who has a right to visit the child.

Adoption agencies usually require a legal paternity test because both biological parents have to consent to the adoption. Inheritance and citizenship cases, as well as insurance claims, sometimes require results from a legal paternity test.

Home Paternity Test

Choose a home paternity test if you only want the results for your own peace of mind. With a home paternity test, there is no chain of custody, which makes the results inadmissible in court.

Laboratories test samples obtained at home in exactly the same way as tests conducted solely in a laboratory. This insures that you will get the same accurate results. You can find a home paternity test either in your local drug store or online through companies specializing in these types of tests.

A good place to start looking for a home paternity test is your physician. Your physician may be able to recommend particular test brands and companies that tend to be reliable.

Samples are collected from the biological mother, the alleged father and the child in question, in the comfort of their own homes. All parties do not have to live in the same town or even the same state. Home paternity test kits contain everything you will need to collect the samples and send them to a lab.

* You will receive cotton swabs, called buccal swabs, to take saliva samples from the inside of your cheek.

* The home paternity test kit will come with special storage envelopes to keep the cotton sample swabs in. These special envelopes help to make sure mold or bacteria do not contaminate the samples. To prevent mix-ups, each storage envelope will have a place on the outside to put identifying information.

* You will also get envelopes to mail the samples back in.

* The kit will contain detailed instructions for getting the samples and mailing them back.

Before purchasing a home paternity test kit, check with your state Department of Health to see if these types of test are legal. Some states do not allow kits to be mailed to or from the residents of that state.

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