Doubts over paternity can cause arguments, insecurity and problems bonding with a child.

Research suggests that one in 10 men are unsure whether they are the biological father of their child but many will keep quiet about their concerns. Often people will only reveal their doubts when their relationship with the child’s mother has ended and they are working out what to do next.

Family court judges in England can now order DNA tests to be carried out where there is uncertainty over a child’s parentage. This move was introduced in September last year to stop divorce cases being delayed by arguments over the paternity of the children concerned.

Now if a judge feels it is necessary legal DNA tests can be carried out to find out for certain whether a man is the biological father of a child. For the last six months, these tests have been funded by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass).

Cafcass is expected to spend between £500,000 and £1 million a year paying for court-ordered paternity tests in private family law cases although it is not yet known how many have been carried out since September.

When the initiative was announced last year, the then-Justice Minister Simon Hughes said: “Unambiguous and conclusive DNA tests will prove parentage and help to end acrimonious and embarrassing court battles.”

Funding will assist in family law cases

Liz Cowell, family lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: “This will assist in those cases where mothers try to allege that the father has no right to contact because he is not the natural parent. The change will also assist in cases where paying parents try to dodge supporting their children with claims that they are not the biological father.

“We have experienced situations where we act for a mother and the father says he wants contact with his child, but he will not pay maintenance as he is not the father.”

However many people will not want to wait for a case to reach court before they find out the paternity of a child. As well as legal DNA tests, peace of mind paternity tests are available for people who want to find out for themselves whether they really are the biological father of a child.

Doubts which may have existed for years can be put to rest within days. AlphaBiolabs offers a next day paternity test where you will receive your confidential results on the next working day from the time your sample is received by our laboratory.

It is now even possible to find out the paternity of a child while it is still in the womb with a prenatal paternity test. The unborn baby’s DNA can be found in the mother’s bloodstream and this can be analysed to establish paternity before birth.

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