You may be able to get a DNA test for yourself or someone else to solve a disagreement about parentage, eg a child maintenance or inheritance dispute.

You might also be asked by a court to get a DNA test.

The Child Support Agency (CSA) and the Child Maintenance Service can use DNA testing to solve disagreements about parentage.

DNA testing can be used to either:

  • prove 100% that someone isn’t a child’s parent
  • show a 99.9% probability that they are a child’s parent

The person named as the parent and the parent the child lives with need to agree to the tests.

Children aged 16 and over must give their permission to be tested.

Apply to get a DNA test

Download and fill in the application form for declaration of parentage if someone refuses to get a DNA test.

It costs £365 to apply.

Make cheques payable to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Service’.

You may be able to get a fee exemption or refund.

Send the form and the fee to the Family Court nearest to where the child lives.

Arrange to get a test

Tests can be arranged through either:

  • the DNA testing company used by the CSA or Child Maintenance Service
  • a private testing company

The CSA or Child Maintenance Service will only accept the results of a private test if:

  • it’s been done by an approved company
  • security arrangements meet acceptable standards
  • everyone involved is satisfied that the test was done properly
  • the test was based on samples from the person named as the parent, the parent the child lives with and the child

Companies approved to do DNA testing

You can use any of the following companies to do DNA testing for CSA and Child Maintenance cases:

DNA testing involves the following steps

  1. The DNA testing company sends an information pack to the parent the child lives with and the person named as the parent.

  2. The person named as the parent chooses a doctor to do the test.

  3. The doctor gets a testing kit from the testing company.

  4. The doctor takes a sample (either from the mouth or a blood sample).

  5. The doctor sends the samples to the testing company.

  6. The testing company sends the results to the person named as the parent, the parent the child lives with and the service managing the case - they might also be given to a court as evidence.

Test fees

When using the Child Support Agency the person named as the parent has to pay the DNA test fee of £255.60. They can pay a discounted fee of £190.80 if they pay when they return their appointment form. The test fees may vary, depending on how many children are involved.

When using the Child Maintenance Service the person named as the parent has to pay the DNA test fee of £258.60. The test fees will vary, depending on how many children are involved.

In some circumstances, the CSA or Child Maintenance Service will pay the test fee if the person named as the parent can’t afford to. But if they’re proved to be the parent, they’ll have to pay it back.

Test fees can change - contact the service managing your 
case to check.

After the test

If the test proves the person is the parent of the child, the service managing the case will work out how much their payments should be.

Payments will include:

  • child maintenance
  • the cost of the DNA test

If the test proves the person isn’t the parent, the CSA or Child Maintenance Service may:

  • refund the cost of the test (if it was done through the CSA or Child Maintenance Service)
  • refund any child maintenance payments made after parentage was denied

The CSA or Child Maintenance Service don’t pay back any child maintenance that was paid before the person denied they were the parent of the child.