DNA Testing Guidelines for Child Support Cases
The Child Support Enforcement Program (CSE) has specific requirements for DNA testing services in order to ensure reliable, scientifically sound evidence for child support cases. The DNA testing company used must meet specific criteria and the results must be at a state-specified percentage to be accepted for legally establishing paternity.
The DNA testing company that is used depends on the situation surrounding the paternity establishment.
If the federal, state, local, or tribal CSE agency requires a DNA test to establish paternity, the parents or family members must use the DNA testing company appointed by the agency. Many state, local, and tribal CSE agencies have contracts with DNA testing companies, while others have guidelines for choosing an independent company.
If parents are allowed to choose the DNA testing company, are not required to undergo DNA testing by a CSE agency, or want to establish paternity privately, they must follow certain federal requirements to attain court-admissible results.
The DNA testing company they choose must:
For private testing, the parents (or other family members) and the child will undergo what is called chain of custody DNA testing, in which both accreditation and expertise of the DNA testing laboratory are significant.
In addition to laboratory criteria, the DNA testing services must also meet certain standards. They must provide results at or above certain probabilities of paternity in order to be accepted in court. Each state sets these probabilities and requirements.
To review each state's policy on court-admissible DNA testing, click on the link below.
To contact a CSE agency or for information on the federal, state, local, and tribal agencies, click on the links below.