There are a surprising number of families where the paternity of the children is less than straightforward, for example your wife may have had an affair during your marriage, conceived a child and passed it off as yours. You the presumed father, unaware of the child’s true paternity then brings the child up as your own. Or you may have found that a new partner fell pregnant very quickly at the beginning of your relationship, she may have reassured you that you were the child’s father and put your name on the birth certificate, however there has always been a niggling doubt in the back of your mind.
There is no simple answer as to how to how you should handle your paternity dispute. Every case is different and requires its own strategy. If you find yourself querying paternity, you should seek early legal advice as the repercussions are extraordinary. It is crucial that the issue is dealt with sensitively and proficiently due to the consequences it will have not only for you and the child but also for the wider family network.
It is important to raise any concerns you may have about paternity at an early stage of the separation process. It will have an impact upon any child maintenance obligations and child arrangements following separation. If there is any doubt about paternity, DNA testing can be carried out to determine the issue. It is possible to get cheap kits off the internet, however please bear in mind that these cannot be relied upon in Court proceedings. You may still wish to perform a “peace of mind” paternity test first so you can then decide whether you wish to raise the issue or paternity in proceedings and obtain a court approved test.
If testing confirms that you are not the child’s biological parent, this does not automatically mean that you are no longer recognised as their parent. It will not mean that you should not see the child or that child cannot live with you. The court takes into account a wide range of things when considering child arrangements. All decisions about children focus on what’s in that individual child’s best interests. If you have always been a significant person in your child’s life, the court will want that relationship to continue, regardless of paternity.
If you are concerned about paternity, we offer an initial call with one of our representatives in order to assess whether we are able to assist you and to discuss anticipated fees for our services. Call us today on 0207 936 6329 or complete our Contact Form and we will call you back.