DNA Testing – biological father proving or disproving.
Paternity and/or DNA testing – Macleod and MacCallum’s award winning family law team are asked by clients about DNA testing. These queries often arise in cases where clients are looking for information about proving or disproving who a child’s biological father is.
We act for both mums and dads and are often instructed during pregnancy or shortly after a child has been born. We can advise clients on paternity, parental rights and responsibilities and generally on contact/residence arrangements.
If you have specific queries about parental rights and responsibilities then our client briefing on these can be viewed here.
What can I do if my baby’s dad won’t admit he is the father?
If you have (or are expecting) a child and are faced with this situation then we can help. Generally speaking, we would first suggest that we write to the dad and check if he is willing to agree to DNA testing being carried out to prove or disprove that he was the child’s father. No-one can be forced to agree to DNA testing, even if a Court is involved. If the alleged dad will agree to the testing then we can arrange for a DNA testing company to deal with this and will discuss the costs of that with you. In some cases, Legal Aid funding may be available to cover the costs of the sample collection and the DNA testing.
If the alleged dad refuses to agree to DNA testing, then the only way forward may be to raise a Court action and, again, Legal Aid funding may be available for that depending on your circumstances. If the alleged dad continues to refuse to agree to DNA testing then we can ask the Court to conclude that he is the father, despite his lack of co-operation. Each court case will be different and we will explain the purposes of a Court action and the likely outcomes to you so you are fully informed about the Court process.
What do I do if I don’t think the baby is mine?
Similarly, if you are in doubt that you are a child’s father then we are able to assist. DNA testing can be used and we can provide advice about the practical steps to obtain DNA samples and instruct the DNA test. Again, Legal Aid Funding can be available for this in some cases.
If you are proved to the father then we can assist in seeking parental rights and responsibilities if you wish and, if necessary, amending the child’s birth certificate.
Parental rights and responsibilities can be granted by a child’s mum by agreement in favour of a biological dad. If the child’s mother is not agreeable to granting these then parental rights and responsibilities can be sought by seeking Orders from the Court. If the arrangements for residence (sometimes referred to as “custody” by clients) and contact (sometimes referred to as “access” by clients) of a child are in dispute then these can also be dealt with as part of a Court Action, however, there are many other ways of dealing with the arrangements for children without Court action and we can provide you with advice about which way would be best in your own case.
It is never too early to obtain advice about matters such as paternity and arrangements for children (contact / access, residence and custody). If you would like expert family law advice, specifically tailored to your circumstances please contact a member of our family law team.