What is a Court Ordered Paternity Test?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 02 March 2020
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A court ordered paternity test is a test given to a man to attempt to prove or disprove that he is the father of a child. This type of test is typically performed in legal situations where proof of parenthood is important, such as child custody hearings or attempts to claim child support. Such tests usually consist of a simple deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) test. A court ordered paternity test must usually be completed by a person within a given period of time or he may be considered in violation of the order, at which point further legal action may be taken against him.

There are a number of situations in which a court ordered paternity test may be needed, though they typically involve parental custody or child support. Voluntary paternity tests can often be taken by someone attempting to prove he is the father of a child, and this is often done when a person wishes to file for some form of custody of the child. This may not be necessary in situations where someone is indicated as the father of a child on a birth certificate, however, and a court ordered paternity test is often necessary only in extreme situations.


A court ordered paternity test is usually required when someone will not voluntarily take a paternity test. There are a number of situations in which this can occur, such as when someone does not wish to pay child support and claims that he is not a child’s father. In some situations, the person may be willing to take a paternity test to prove this, but there are also circumstances in which he may refuse. A court ordered paternity test may then be used to force the person to take a test, or else he will usually face further legal action.

Paternity tests are typically performed after a child has been born. While it is possible to conduct a paternity test on a child still in the womb, the procedure can be dangerous for the unborn baby so it is usually avoided. Once born, a swab sample is taken from the inside of the baby’s mouth as well as the potential father’s cheek.

These samples are then analyzed for DNA and compared to establish the paternity of the parent. Such tests are more than 99% accurate for proving parenthood and 100% accurate when demonstrating that someone is not the father of a child. A court ordered paternity test can usually be requested by an attorney, though the government may also request such a test to request support for a child whose mother or guardian is receiving government assistance.



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