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How does a do-it-yourself DNA paternity test work?

In the not-too-distant past, if a father disputed a mother's claim that he was the dad, it was relatively easy for him to sidestep the need to pay child support. In the modern era of DNA testing, however, it's easy for mothers to prove who the father is by asking the court to order DNA testing.

Through a simple blood or swab test to determine if the alleged father and baby's DNA signatures match, a mother can definitively prove -- with almost 100 percent accuracy -- who the father of her child is. Then, she can demand child support payments through California family law court proceedings.

Going through court proceedings to establish one's right to receive child support can be time-consuming and stressful, however, and this is why many parents may want to resolve such matters out of court with a do-it-yourself, legally-certified paternity test. Fortunately, there are many options available to parents and alleged parents to perform such a test confidentially -- and many of these tests offer results that are certified to be used as legal documents in court if necessary.

For the test to be legally certified, the parties being tested need to go to a health department, hospital or medical office to have a certified professional take their samples. The services that offer such testing will direct the parties to an approved facility. Once the DNA has been tested, the certified results will be mailed confidentially and directly to the parties who were tested.

Performing a DNA paternity test on your own could be helpful to arrive at an out-of-court divorce settlement by bringing clarity to this potential area of disagreement. In addition to resolving disputes related to child support, these tests can also help potential parents decide issues that pertain to child custody and visitation rights.

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