The DNA Paternity Test Law

Learn about the legal aspects of DNA Paternity Testing

DNA Paternity Test Law

While it is usually very easy to identify the mother of a child, sometimes the father of a child can have doubts that he is the paternal father of the child in question.

If this is the case then the only sure way to know for sure is a DNA paternity test, but it is very important that you know the DNA Paternity Test Law.

A recent report indicated that between 5% and 20% of children have the wrong man named as the father of the child. Sometimes the mother of the child may genuinely not know who the father is, or it may be that the mother has not disclosed the identity of the father despite knowing his identity.

You need the written authority of any adult whose sample you provide for DNA testing, since it is a criminal offense to take such a sample without consent. Only those who have parental responsibility for the child are able to give permission for the child’s DNA to be used in the test (Human Tissue Act 2004 s2(3)).

Parental responsibility is a legal status derived from the Children Act 1989. So for example, you could be a man who has separated from his partner you will need a written consent form the mother is the child resides with the child’s mother.

Until officially declared otherwise, a man is deemed to be a child’s legal father if he is married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth, or if his name is registered on the child’s birth certificate. Additionally, for child maintenance purposes, if the mother has named a man as father but he has disputed paternity, the CSA is allowed to presume that he is the father if he chose not to provide DNA samples to prove his contention.

DNA Paternity Test Law & the CSA

For any legal reason, you may wish to know the paternity of a child you will need to take a legal DNA test which follows a chain of custody and makes tampering with the DNA test results impossible. The CSA requires this type of DNA test.

The various pieces of DNA Paternity Test Law involved are: