Family Law Focus: What happens when there is a disagreement about who is a child's biological parent?

In some family court proceedings there is a disagreement about who is a child’s parent. If this disagreement means a current application for a child arrangements order cannot be decided, the court may ask Cafcass to carry out a DNA test.

Cafcass are the “Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service.” Cafcass provides a free DNA testing service to parents involved such proceedings. The only cost involved for parents is travel to the office where the DNA sample is collected.

You can find out more about Cafcass here.

Dependent upon a child’s age and understanding, is important that children can have honest information about the test. This information must be given in ways that do not undermine their relationship with their parents.

After the sample is taken it will be sent to a laboratory to be tested. The testing process is very accurate – confirming with 99.99% accuracy if a person is a child’s biological father.

Courts can ask for a scientific DNA paternity test to check the parentage of a child if parties cannot agree on whether a DNA test should be done. The test may only be carried out in laboratories on the accredited laboratory list.