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Genetic testing to determine the biological father

Either parent can request genetic testing when they want proof that the man is the biological father of the child before he is named the legal father.

Genetic testing also may be done if an alleged father denies that he is the biological father and a court action is needed to determine parentage.

Genetic testing

Genetic testing requires swab collections from the mother, father and child. Sometimes blood is used. Cotton swabs are rubbed firmly against the inside of each person's cheek for cell collection or blood is drawn from the arm of each person. Most samples can be taken anytime after the child's birth. Samples and testing are important if results are to be used in court. Test results usually take a few weeks.

Genetic testing can show either:

  • That a man is not the biological father of the child
  • A greater than 99 percent probability that the man is the biological father.

With the results, the court may establish parentage.

To get tested, parents can:

  • Talk to hospital staff about genetic testing before or at the time of the child's birth
  • Contact their county child support office
  • Contact a lab directly.

Test results and orders for support

If the test indicates that the alleged father is the biological father, the court may order him to:

  • Pay support if the genetic test shows a 99 percent probability that he is a father.
  • Pay support into a reserve account if the test shows between a 92 and 99 percent probability that he is the father. Support can be paid into a reserve account and not sent to the other parent if further action is required.


If a county child support office sets up genetic testing and the testing is done at a designated laboratory, the county initially pays the cost.

  • If the man is not the biological father, he does not have to pay back the county for the testing.
  • If the testing proves the man is the child's father, the court may order him to pay all or part of the testing fees back to the county.
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