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How accurate is a paternity test?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2022 | Parenting Plans/Coparenting

A paternity test is used when it is not entirely clear who the father is for a specific child. For instance, maybe a former partner has claimed that you are the father and you need to pay child support in the future. You don’t believe that you are the father, and you certainly don’t want to pay thousands of dollars for someone else’s child. A paternity test can settle the matter so that you know what you’re obligated to do.

Or, perhaps you believe that a child is yours, but your former partner claims that they are not. You would like custody rights so that you can spend time with them and develop this relationship. But the court is not going to give you custody rights unless it is clear that you actually are the child’s father, so a paternity test may be needed before they can rule one way or the other. It’s not just about answering questions that you and the other person may have, but about setting up your legal rights.

So, if you do have a paternity test done, how accurate is it? Can you actually trust it?

Modern tests hit almost 100%

Older tests may not have been as accurate, but modern DNA testing works very well. The Cleveland Clinic, one of the most respected medical centers in the world, claims that it is close to 100%.

There are different types of tests, some of which use cheek swabs to gather their samples. Others use blood tests. It is important to know which type of test you using, but you can trust that it is going to be accurate as long as it is a DNA test.

One thing to keep in mind is that you are going to have to go to a medical center to have this done. You can take certain types of DNA tests or ancestry tests at home, and these may give you some insight. However, since no one is watching when you take the test and it’s hard to determine if it was done correctly, these cannot be used as evidence in court. So you would still have to go do another paternity test at a medical center and get official records for your court case.

Protecting your rights

No matter why you want a paternity test to be done, it’s important to protect your rights and the child’s rights. Be sure you understand all of the legal options at your disposal.