How Do Paternity Tests Work?

May 10, 2023
By Alternative Divorce Solutions

Understanding Paternity Tests in California

Establishing paternity can be valuable for a variety of reasons, but how do you go about getting a paternity test? In this blog post we’ll address the different types of paternity tests that are available and how these tests work. We will also answer common questions related to determining paternity in accordance with California law.

If you need help determining paternity for the sake of child support or custody arrangements, we can help. Call Alternative Divorce Solutions today at 949-368-2121 to get started.

Are There Different Types of Paternity Tests?

Yes! There are two common ways to test an individual’s DNA in order to determine parentage:

  • Blood Test – For this type of paternity test both the possible father and the child provide blood samples, which are then sent to a lab for comparison and analysis.
  • Cheek Swab/Saliva Test – For this form of paternity test, both the child and the potential father provide a cotton swab with saliva and skin cells taken from the inside of their cheek. This DNA sample is then sent to a lab for comparison.

The method most commonly used by California courts is the cheek swab test. In situations where the court requires you to take a paternity test, they will provide you with the information needed about what type of test to get and how to get it.

How Does a Paternity Test Prove Who the Father Is?

The DNA samples that are sent to the lab for analysis are run through a series of tests known as “DNA sequencing.” These tests search for genetic matches between the potential father’s and the child’s DNA samples in order to prove that there is a parental relationship.

How Accurate Is Paternity Testing?

As far as DNA testing is concerned, paternity tests are extremely accurate. While there is still potential for error (as with most things), most paternity tests are very close to being 100% accurate. However, most California courts will not accept paternity tests that are conducted at home or in a private medical facility. Instead, if a paternity test is court-ordered, they will specify exactly where the parent should get the test. This is to preserve the authenticity of the test results.

Can You Determine Paternity Before Birth?

No, in most cases you will need to wait until after the child is born before taking a DNA sample and sending it to the lab for comparison. Many facilities also require the child to be at least 6 months old before they conduct the test. However, even though you can’t submit a sample for DNA testing until after the child is born, you can still open a parentage case with the California Department of Child Support Services while the mother is still pregnant.

Get Help Determining Parentage Today

If you or your partner need to determine paternity of your child, we can help you with getting a court order and ensuring that all the steps are taken to ensure your child’s needs are met. Get started today by calling Alternative Divorce Solutions at 949-368-2121 or contacting us online.


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