Paternity and DNA Testing Can Be Admissible in Court

What Makes a DNA Test Court Admissible?

The chain of custody refers to the various chain of "hands" that the individual sample passes through. A legal chain of custody requires the samples to be collected in the presence of a third neutral party at a lab, clinic, or hospital facility where all parties have their identity verified. The normal procedure for establishing identification for the mother and alleged father is by the collector or case manager making a copy of the subject’s driver license. The child’s identity is normally verified with a photograph. Most laboratories normally require the participants Social Security numbers. The collector, case manager, or draw site will take each participants DNA sample, fill out the required forms, and be responsible for sealing and mailing the samples to the lab. The collector could possibly be called into court to testify that they properly handled the samples. Most collectors charge additional fees for this expert testimony.



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LORD MANSFIELD’S RULE -- Most states still have Lord Mansfield’s Rule on the books, a British law created in 1777 that defines a child born into a marriage to be a product of that marriage. Specifically, Lord Mansfield’s Rule bars the mother of the child, and her legal husband at the time the child was conceived or born, from giving testimony that might prove that the child is illegitimate, i.e., that the child is the natural child of a man other than the husband. Five states have abolished this rule. It is still on the law books of the other 45 states.

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