Paternity of a child is often disputed when it comes to matters relating to maintenance, child arrangements and inheritance.
If the dispute revolves around whether maintenance is payable or not, then The Child Support Agency (CSA) and The Child Maintenance Service(CMS) have their own procedures to determine paternity. If you are unhappy with the findings of the CSA /CMS then you can of course make an application to the court to resolve the matter.
If the matter of paternity arises in respect of the child arrangements or simply from the desire to know whether you are the parent of a child then you can try to request a paternity test directly from the parent with whom the child lives. If any such requests are refused then you can make an application to the court obtain a Declaration of Parentage or Non Parentage under the Family Law Act 1986. If this application is made the court is likely to direct the parties and the child in question to take a DNA test. If all the parties cooperate then the matter can be swiftly concluded. However if evidence via a DNA test cannot be obtained due to lack of cooperation then the court will list the matter for a hearing and they will draw their own conclusions from the evidence provided. In such a situation if a positive finding is made and one party has been unreasonable in the process then the court can make an order for costs.
If matters can be resolved without issuing proceedings and the parties agree to a paternity test then it is important that you select a testing company which has been certified by the Ministry of Justice because you shall then be in a position to rely on the results if you later require them in court proceedings. The CSA & CMS will also only accept results from accredited providers.
At the time of writing the accredited laboratories that have been approved to carry out paternity tests are
Alpha Biolaboratories Ltd
Anglia DNA Services Ltd
Complement Genomics Ltd trading as dadcheck
DDC Laboratories Inc
Eurofins Medigenomix Forensik GMBH
Genetrack Biolabs Inc
Key Forensic Services Ltd
King’s College London trading as DNA Analysis at King’s
Orchid Cellmark Ltd trading as Cellmark
However it would be good practice to ask the company in question whether they are still an accredited provider.
It is important to note that children over the age of 16 and over must given their permission to be tested.
If you are struggling to make progress on resolving the matter of paternity then I would be happy to assist and you can email me Hardeep Dhillon at Hdhillon@thelawhouse.com or telephone me on 0208 899 6620.