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Disputes over Paternity

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 6 Oct 2020 |
 
Disputes Over Paternity

A parent is a person who is legally recognised as being the mother or father of a child. A person can be a parent for various reasons: biologically, or because they have adopted the child, or because there has been a surrogate parent order or because (in some instances) they are a donor. The CSA/CMS is unable to decide maintenance applications until such time as a parent either admits that they are the parent or by a court order.

There may be instances in which a parent ‘with care’ does not disclose the identity of the other parent, and in other instances a person may deny being a parent. In these instances it is up to the CSA/CMS to investigate the case to see whether or not the person can be assumed to be the parent. In most, but not all, cases, the person who raises the dispute is a father who does not live with the child.

Pre-Calculation Disputes

An investigation into paternity may happen before or after the CSA/CMS decides how much maintenance should be paid. If the CSA/CMS has not made the calculation and there is no presumed parent, the calculation cannot be made until such time as the identity of the parent has been decided. The CSA/CMS will undertake its own investigations to see whether paternity can be established. These investigations may include interviewing both mother and alleged father, and may also seek DNA tests or resort to court action for a declaration of parentage. If an alleged parent does not turn up for the DNA test, the CSA/CMS can assume parentage, i.e. that they are in fact the parent of the child.

Post-Calculation Disputes

If the CSA/CMS has already made a calculation as to maintenance, the person is usually disputing their parentage for one of two reasons: in order to avoid paying maintenance, or because he no longer believes he is the child’s father. It is not sufficient to simply deny being the parent: there has to be some further evidence to support the claim. This may be, for example, evidence that the mother was having another relationship at the time she fell pregnant.

Whether a DNA test is offered depends on whether the parent with care (usually the mother) accepts that there might be a question as to parentage or not. If she accepts it, the CSA/CMS may offer a DNA test. If she disputes the claim, the onus is then on the man disputing paternity to prove that he is not the father, but the CSA/CMS will not offer a DNA test in these circumstances.

DNA Tests

The CSA/CMS offers DNA tests at discounted rates for those who take them voluntarily. If a court orders a test, the non-discounted rate will be payable. If the alleged parent cannot pay this sum in advance, the CSA/CMS may pay on the condition that he abides by the outcome of the test and, if found to be the parent, agrees to pay back the cost of the test. If the alleged parent is then found not to have parentage, they should get a full refund.

Court Orders

Sometimes, if all other avenues have failed a declaration of parentage can be sought in court. In Scotland, this is called a declarator of parentage. The types of instances that will lead to a court order being sought are: if a DNA test proves inconclusive, if the mother had fertility treatment and the alleged father disputes giving consent to the treatment, or if post-calculation the disputing father can only provide inconclusive evidence, which is disputed by the mother.

Either the parent with care of the child or the CSA/CMS can make the application to the court. If the parent with care makes the application, they will usually have to pay their own costs at court and if they lose the case, will probably be ordered to pay the costs of the person disputing parentage, too.

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My son has a 2 year old (nearly 3) daughter - he and the mother had a bad split.she insists that he cannot see the child.He sends money (periodically) he is currently in really low paid employment and does what he can.She has refused the money and sent it back. If he asks to visit his child she says no, he has asked her mother to intervene on his behalf and is willing to work with them to see his daughter, I have offered to have the child at my place, however, the childs maternal grandmother says that he can visit at her home.whenever he does go, the mother of the child turns up and throws him out.I have not seen my granddaughter in over a year and I am missing out on seeing her grow up. It's affecting my son mentally as he is really upset that he cannot see his daughter.What are his rights regarding visitation?
MM - 6-Oct-20 @ 9:00 AM
@mega - I don't think any one is going to rise to the bait of doing your homework or college essay for you. LOL.
MaddyU - 19-Oct-17 @ 2:22 PM
pls kindly send me a clear and concise answer on ' the investigation of disputed paternity in forensic medicine' thank you
mega - 18-Oct-17 @ 7:14 PM
Well I have done three Dna test with the potential three guys and all of my test s have come back they rnt the father . I've since been told the person who I thought to be the father through my dates and scans has sent someone else in to do the test as his gf got pregnant with their first child and didn't want my son in their life's . Be reported it to the csa and awaiting for them to deal with it . So it is possible
Cj - 3-Aug-16 @ 7:17 AM
Gemma - Your Question:
My daughters father is taking a DNA test to establish whether she is or is not his. I have been asked to provide ID for both my daughter and myself but I have been told he does not. Is this the case? And if so, what is stopping him from sending someone else. I have no doubt that my daughter is his but if he sends someone else to take the test and it fails how do I then follow this up or dispute it?

Our Response:
ID is usually required for the father, unless it is carried out through his GP. Plus, the father could face a prison sentence if he attempts to fraudulently falsify any information. It is very rare this happens as generally a woman will be able to narrow down who the father of her child may be, even if it involves more than one person having to take the test.
ChildSupportLaws - 5-May-16 @ 11:00 AM
My daughters father is taking a DNA test to establish whether she is or is not his. I have been asked to provide ID for both my daughter and myself but I have been told he does not. Is this the case? And if so, what is stopping him from sending someone else. I have no doubt that my daughter is his but if he sends someone else to take the test and it fails how do I then follow this up or dispute it?
Gemma - 4-May-16 @ 1:28 PM
Coco24 - Your Question:
Currently awaiting paperwork giving permission for the dna test to be carried out. Has been over a month since dispute was raised via paying parent to csa. Still not had anything come through. Wondering why it is taking so long to resolve?

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot help you on this - you would have to contact the CSA/CMS directly.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Mar-16 @ 2:36 PM
Currently awaiting paperwork giving permission for the dna test to be carried out. Has been over a month since dispute was raised via paying parent to csa. Still not had anything come through. Wondering why it is taking so long to resolve?
Coco24 - 3-Mar-16 @ 10:56 PM
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