A legal paternity test is used when court admissible results are required, typically in cases of child custody, child support or paternity disputes. Home tests are informative DNA tests of which results are used for peace of mind or just for reassurance. The have no legal validity.
How do legal tests differ to home tests?
A legal paternity test will provide the same accurate result as that of a standard paternity test. However, the legal paternity test differs in that it requires a different sample collection procedure, also known as Chain-of-Custody, to ensure the correct identity of the samples sent for testing. The samples in a legal test have to be collected by an independent third party, normally a medical practitioner or qualified nurse, who will take responsibility to handle the DNA samples once they have been collected and act as a witness to the sampling.
By going through this procedure, the result of the legal paternity test can then be used for proceedings in a court of law or for applications to various government departments such as for immigration applications. It is therefore important, prior to ordering your paternity test, to identify and be well-informed as to which type of test you require.
Can I upgrade to a legal test?
If you select the home paternity test, then it CANNOT be used for legal purposes and it CANNOT be upgraded to a legal DNA test at a later stage. This is because the samples in a home paternity test are not collected using the chain of custody procedure necessary for a legal paternity test. Moreover, you cannot use results of a home test in a court of law.