Legal Situations Requiring A DNA Paternity Test

Updated on May 25, 2020

Most people get a DNA paternity test for their peace of mind. However, there are certain legal situations in which DNA testing is absolutely necessary. Paternity test results are accepted by courts all over the world as the definite way of identifying the biological relationship between a child and father. 

These are the most common legal situations requiring DNA testing:

Child Custody and Support

Generally, child custody and support cases where a couple is married are pretty straightforward. However, in situations where the couple is not married, a legal relationship needs to be established between the father and child before a custody arrangement or a court support order can be approved by the court. DNA tests are quite popular for these types of legal situations, even if they are not always required. 

Inheritance Rights

Lawsuits regarding inheritance rights generally require an alleged heir to prove their biological relationship. The alleged heir can be an adult or a minor in a situation where the rights may not always be in dispute. A legal paternity DNA test is the quickest and most efficient way of putting the matter to rest. This test ensures that the right people get what is theirs. Results of DNA testing are court admissible if circumstances deem it necessary. 

Other Benefits

Inheritance rights are not the only reason for an alleged heir to get a paternity test. There can be other benefits that an heir may be entitled to. For instance, life insurance and Social Security benefits require beneficiaries to offer proof of paternity. 

In such situations, a medical examiner would be ordered by the court to collect a DNA sample and submit it to an accredited laboratory. DNA evidence can quickly mitigate the hassles associated with researching, locating, and producing other documents that serve as proof of paternity. 


Birth certificates and related documents are not always available with immigrants. Most government entities use DNA testing as the go-to method when trying to establish a close family relationship. Immigration paternity tests are usually ordered to prove maternity or paternity. But, they can also be used for establishing relationships in the case of grandparents and siblings. 

There are several highly-accredited labs that work closely with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and various other embassies. DNA tests for immigration purposes should always be carried out by a certified lab since the collection of samples needs to be witnessed by a disinterested party. 


Everybody desires to know their biological roots. In some people, the feelings become stronger as they grow older. Adults that get raised by adoptive or foster parents tend to search for their biological parents using DNA testing methods. This holds true for people that were conceived through donors as well. This is usually for peace of mind. 

However, in some situations an adopted or foster child may need to prove paternity for inheritance, immigration, and other benefits. In such a situation, they would need to undergo a legal paternity DNA test. It is important to note that DNA tests as with other legal tests need to be witnessed.  

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.