Abstract. Reads from paired-end and mate-pair libraries are often utilized to find structural variation in genomes, and one common approach is to use their fragment length for detection. After aligning read-pairs to the reference, read-pair distances are analyzed for statistically significant deviations. However, previously proposed methods are based on a simplified model of observed fragment lengths that does not agree with data. We show how this model limits statistical analysis of identifying variants and propose a new model, by adapting a model we have previously introduced for contig scaffolding, which agrees with data. From this model we derive an improved improved null hypothesis that, when applied in the variant caller CLEVER, reduces the number of false positives and corrects a bias that contributes to more deletion calls than insertion calls. A reference implementation is freely available at https://github.com/ksahlin/GetDistr.