A survey released by dnatestingchoice.com has revealed that up to 8% of fathers in Britain are not sure whether they are the biological father of the child they are raising, and that 3% of mothers are not sure either.
The research also suggests that there is notable difference between geographical areas, with certain areas exhibiting higher rates of doubt than others.
As we have explained on a previous blog DIY Paternity Tests - Do You Know The Facts? anyone who is concerned about the paternity of a child can undertake a DNA test if it is with the consent of the mother, but not without it.
In circumstances where there is doubt, Court applications can be made for DNA tests to be done, declarations of paternity to be made and/or for an order as to when and what the child is told regarding the truth about their paternity; if applicable.
It's important to remember that only certain DNA testing centres are accredited by the Ministry of Justice, meaning that only results from accredited DNA providers will be recognised for official purposes. It's also vital to be able to show a “chain of custody” namely proof that the sample has been tracked right through the process in order for the results to be considered reliable.
There have been a few rare examples of cases where the Court has ordered damages against women who have wrongly and knowingly led someone to believe they are the father of a child and allowed them to provide for the child, but this is not standard practice. Paternity can however be very relevant to financial matters, as liabilities differ as between biological children and “children of the family” who have been raised in the family unit, but are not the biological child of both parents.
Anyone who is concerned about the issue of paternity and the various implications on rights and responsibilities is advised to seek legal advice before taking any steps to deal with the situation.
Slater and Gordon have offices in nationwide and offer both flexible pricing and fixed fees for family law, children law and divorce. For a free initial consultation call freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you.