Each person who is taking part in the paternity test must give written consent to allow their DNA sample to be taken and tested. To achieve the most accurate and conclusive result, the biological mother should also be tested rather than only testing the father and child.
If the child is under 16, a person who has parental responsibility of the child may give consent on their behalf. If the child can understand the nature of the test and the consequences that the results may bring, their opinion should be taken into consideration. Legal advice may be required if the child’s wishes conflict with the parent’s wishes.
When a paternity test is required for legal reasons, the samples must be taken by a test provider who are accredited by the Ministry of Justice. If the person with parental responsibility does not give consent for the child to be tested, the court order may still go ahead if the court believes it is in the best interest of the child.
What is parental responsibility?
Parental responsibility means all mothers and most fathers have legal rights and responsibilities as a parent. This includes providing a home for the child, and protecting and maintaining the child. You are also responsible for providing education, agreeing to medical treatment, naming the child, and looking after the child’s property.
If your child was born before 1st December 2003, the father of the child can only gain parental responsibility by being married to the mother, signing an official agreement with the mother, or getting a court order. However, if your child was born from 1st December 2003, new changes in law mean that fathers have equal parental responsibility without needing to be married to the mother.
If you are the non-biological parent of a child and do not yet have parental responsibility then you do not have the authority to make significant decisions that concern the child, for example, you will not be able to sign any legal forms, give medical consent, or deal with the child’s doctor or school.
How non-biological parents can acquire parental responsibility:
- A step-parent or civil partner can enter a formal agreement with all other persons with parental responsibility, this agreement is lodged with the court. The courts regularly grant step-parents parental responsibility.
- A step-parent or civil partner can apply to the court for a parental responsibility order.
- If you and the child’s biological parent are not married or in a civil partnership, the only way you can acquire parental responsibility is by being granted a Child Arrangements Order by a court or through adoption.
DNA Legal and Paternity Testing
DNA Legal provide paternity tests that are accredited by the Ministry of Justice and can be used when proving paternity in a court of law, changing a child’s name on a birth certificate, and in child custody cases. Find out more information about our paternity testing and request a quote.