How Much Does a Court Ordered Paternity Test Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

A court ordered paternity test, compared to a regular DNA test, is something that is known to be a lot stricter.  In fact, a court ordered paternity test follows a strict chain of custody that was put in place to ensure that the right method of sample collection is done and that the test will be secure and cheat-proof.

In contrast to an ordinary paternity test, the court-ordered test differs not only in the way that samples are collected but with the pricing as.  Although the test process and analyzing the sample in the laboratory are the same, the results of an at-home paternity test will not be used to answer the question to your paternity query at court.  Thus, the court-ordered one must be official.

To decide paternity, you will need to go to court if you want to determine who the legal father is or you want to make sure the child has a legal father.

Laurel County Court House by Gage Skidmore, on Flickr
Laurel County Court House” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

How much does a court ordered paternity test cost?

One single test, when ordered by a court, according to our research can cost anywhere from $100 to $600.  These figures are common, especially when the test is done for a disputed paternity or child support case.  The costs will depend on the state and the situation you’re facing.  The person who asks for the genetic testing will usually pay for the test, but in some cases, the court may split up the costs between the two individuals.

BabyMed.com says a paternity test will depend on the state, and most of the time, the costs will be between $400 to $500 and shouldn’t cost more than $550.

A lawyer on Avvo.com said you should be prepared to spend $80 to $150 for a test to done.

Court ordered paternity test overview

The paternity test can be initiated by the father, if he claims and desires to prove that he is the real father of the child, or by the mother, in the hope of making the father recognize that he is the real father of the child.  Either way, you need to talk to your lawyer to ensure the legality of the test and make sure you use the correct procedure to make sure it’s admissible in court.

A legal paternity test is not synonymous with a court-ordered paternity test.  For the latter, you will need to contact a lawyer who deals with issues of child custody and the like.  As per EasyDNA.com, you can also go through certain agencies that are responsible for child support.

As for the results of paternity testing, they are usually available within five to 10 days after the laboratory has received the sample.

If the results do come back as positive, then you will need to negotiate a parenting plan that involves child support and parenting time.

What are the extra costs?

In some rare cases, a blood test may be required if the paternity test comes back as inconclusive.

If you’re using a lawyer during the process, then you need to factor in the lawyer costs, and if the results do come back positive, and you need to go to court once again to determine a parenting schedule, then this could be even more fees to think about.  Some lawyers may charge a one-time fee, whereas others could charge $100 to $300+ per hour.

Tips to know:

A court ordered paternity test can indicate that a man is highly likely to be the father with about 99.9% accuracy or that he is excluded from being the father with 100% accuracy.

When talking to legal counsel, be honest about your situation.  If you do not know the identity of your child’s father because it could have been more than one man, you cannot simply choose the man based on your own preferences or his financial situation.

It is highly recommended that the DNA test is done at a facility accredited by the AABB (American Association of Blood Banks).  Therefore, it is always ideal to check for this AABB accreditation. This will help you make sure you are dealing with a legitimate company that upholds the standards set by the association.

How to save money?

Talk with the courts to see if they have a contract with a local service.  While they will tell you about this service ahead of time, courts that have a contract are often cheaper than those who force you to find a facility on your own.

In some cases, the state may be able to pay for the test if you can’t afford it.  For example, in Massachusetts, you can file an Affidavit of Indigency.  If the state accepts it, they will pay for the test.


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