Paternity is of course often a matter of dispute between parents who Separate around the time a child is conceived but can easily be settled by a DNA test if both parties provide their consent to the testing. If not, then an application can be made to the court to determine whether or not it is in the interests of the child for the test to be undertaken. Where there is no agreement, it is not uncommon for one or other parent to take matters into their own hands and undertake a test secretly. Courts do not endorse such behaviour and indeed are critical of parents who act in such a way. Further, tests undertaken in such circumstances will often not be recognised for legal purposes and will have to be re-done in any event.
It is important that when undertaking such tests, whether by consent or by order of the court, a recognised and accredited DNA testing facility is used. Courts will only accept results from certain recognised providers and if a clear "chain of Child Custody" can be demonstrated in regard to the samples tested. The issue of paternity then of course gives rise to many other questions, including financial provision, parental rights and contact. Obtaining advice on Children Law early on can help everyone through what is often a very emotional and stressful time and avoid matters becoming unnecessarily complicated and protracted.