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Paternity Testing and DNA Testing in Divorce and Family Law in British Columbia

Written by: Kevin Heinrichs (View All Posts • View Bio ) Published: February 11, 2015
Categorized: Child Support, Custody and Access.

With a rise in reproductive technologies – surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation and the like – the need for tests to determine relationships between children and parents is something which is becoming increasingly relevant.  Even in the case of a birth unassisted by reproductive technology, it is sometimes the case that there is doubt as to the identity of the natural father of the child.  This has long reaching effects in divorce and family law cases dealing with child guardianship, child custody, the residency of a child and the contact or parenting time the child receives.  It also has a potential effect on the obligation of parties to a family law case to pay child maintenance or support.

In the past few years, genetic testing to determine relationships between people has become much more commonplace and simpler to obtain.  Whereas in years past, DNA testing was for most in the realm of science fiction, it can now be ordered online and sample collection kits can be sent to you in the mail.  There are two different types of testing:  legal and non-legal – but both provide the same information.  Where they differ is in the collection process.  In a legal test, the providence of the DNA sample is assured and the chain of evidence is protected.  If Party A is being tested, a lawyer will be able to rely on being able to show Party A’s DNA results.  For a non-legal test, little effort is made to document whose DNA sample is being tested, as the results will only be used to satisfy the subject’s curiosity.  The big difference between the two tests is price, with the legal test costing more than the non-legal.

I have done a simple google search on DNA testing in British Columbia and have found that prices range considerably for both legal and non-legal testing.  The non-legal option (ignoring the outlier advertising deals) seems to cost between approximately $250 to $450.  The legal option ranges from between approximately $450 and $650.  The tests are widely available and if you are interested in the legal option, there are labs in most urban centres where testing can take place.

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