The Sun featured an article yesterday on the increase in people using DIY DNA-test kits at home and research questioning their accuracy and use for various purposes.
One of the main uses of such kits, which can cost up to £350 is to establish paternity. Many people do not realise however the importance of ensuring that the test is done in accordance with a strict procedure to minimise the chances of mistakes happening. In addition, people can be caught out paying for these tests, only to realise that the results are not valid for CSA and court purposes.
The Ministry of Justice has an approved list of providers, and it is only when tests are carried out by one of those providers that results will be legally recognised for things such as contact and parental responsibility proceedings in family law, and for child maintenance purposes. In addition, the tests must be undertaken in a way in which “chain of custody” is guaranteed, to ensure that the sample is tracked from start to finish, in order to avoid mix ups. Spending money on any test which does not meet these criteria can be risky.
In addition, the courts in family proceedings, looking at issues such as paternity and contact can be very critical of parents undertaking such tests in secret, and so it is always advisable to ensure that the arrangements for the test are made in a way which will not leave the tester open to criticism, or to damaging their case.
If there is a dispute as to paternity, an application can be made to the court for paternity testing to be done, and for a decision to be made as to how and when a child is told about his or her parentage, and a declaration of parentage can also be made, which also allows for a child’s birth certificate to be amended if appropriate.
We have specialist Children Lawyers in our team who can assist anyone who has issues about paternity testing and provide guidance as to the various ways of dealing with the issue.
For a free initial consultation call Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online.