Caution: This page contains ONLY GENERAL LEGAL INFORMATION.
It is NOT LEGAL ADVICE nor a replacement for talking to a lawyer
and getting legal advice about your case.
The law can be complicated and the details of a case can be even more complicated!
There are exceptions for every rule.
What you do not know can harm you. Do not rely on general legal information.
AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Will the Court Order A Paternity Test?
Usually a court will order DNA testing to determine if someone is a child's biological father if:
there is a dispute as to whether a party is the biological father OF a child for whom claims are made (usually support); and
there is some evidence that the man in question might be the father (often it is admitted that the man could have fathered the child, but alleged there are others who could be the father)
If a party fails to cooperate with the testing, the court may make a negative inference (i.e. that the party refuse to participate because they believe the person is, if fact, the father).
The cost of a DNA test is a lot cheaper than conducting a trial on the issue and deciding based on who is more believable. The result is far more reliable than a judge deciding which party's story to believe.
In theory, the DNA testing is only evidence and does not automatically result in a finding of paternity. However, in practice, it is nearly impossible to challenge paternity in the face of favourable test result, unless you can challange to the laboratory's practices or provide a contradictory report.
How Accurate is the Test?
DNA paternity tests are 99.99% accurate or more. (Technically, the reports often indicates whether the man is not the father. This leads to a double negative - the party is not not the father therefore he is the father.)
What is the Cost? Who Pays?
Generally, the cost of a DNA paternity test is about $600. The court may direct who pays the cost initially and, depending on the results, may re-distribute the cost later. Who must initially pay may depend on the nature of the parties involvement with each other when the child was conceived (for example, married or had a "one night stand").
What is the Procedure?
Mouth swabs are taken from the child and the possible father. (Usually, no samples are required from the mother.) Usually the samples are taken at the commercial labratory facility. Some companies will come to you. If the child is over sixteen years old, his/her consent is required.
For the test results to be used in court, the samples must be taken and transported by a laboratory technician. (Samples that are mailed in to a laboratory by a party can too easily be falsified.)
The child and the possible father must be properly identified: Government issued photo identification is required (there may be exceptions for the child). Photographs and finger prints may be taken to confirm who was tested.
In a laboratory, the genetic information from the two samples is compared for similarities and differences. Based on these results, the technicians can determine the likelihood of paternity.
The test results are usually available within one week and a letter is provided.
Who To Get To Do The Testing?
Make sure the laboratory is accredited by either the Standard Council of Canada or "ACLASS". Go with a labratory that does its own analysis, rather than sending the samples elsewhere for processing. We do not recommend any particular laboratory. But for your convenience, here is a list of three which serve the Region of Peel (and the Toronto area) and are accredited:
Genetrack Biolabs 1-888-828-1899 www.genetrackcanada.com
What is the Difference between a Finding and a Declaration of Paternity?
When dealing with a claim in which paternity is relevant (for example, child support), a court can make a finding that a person is the father. This only is binding to that issue (in this example, child support).
A declaration of paternity by a court decides the issue for all purposes. However, a declaration can only be made by the Superior Court of Justice. Additionally, as it may affect other person's rights, there may be a requirement to serve notice on all other possible men who could have fathered the child.