Paternity Disputes Solicitors

Parenthood is an important issue in the life of parents and their children, which can mean that paternity disputes can become complex and emotional issues. This can raise issues over conception, fertility treatment, DNA tests, birth certificates as well as the upbringing of a child, their identity and their citizenship. This can play a big part in determining where a child should live, how they should be cared for and who is financially responsible for them.

This can all be extremely difficult to navigate and so needs expert legal advice. At Lovedays Solicitors, we can help you to deal with any issues relating to paternity disputes with sensitivity and professionalism. We can help you to understand your rights and guide you through any necessary processes to get the best outcomes for both you and your child.

What Triggers a Paternity Dispute?

Paternity disputes can be very emotive issues, and they can be triggered for a number of reasons. Doubts can arise regarding who the parent of a child is at the time of birth or in divorce or separation cases.

When a relationship ends, an application to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) to determine the financial support that needs to be provided can raise issues regarding who the father of the child is. This may be an attempt by the mother to cut a father out of the child’s life, or the father may be trying to avoid their responsibilities once the relationship is over. The end of a relationship can also come about because the father no longer believes he is the father of the child in question.

There can also be paternity issues surrounding the fact that the father is not the biological parent of a child but has spent many years raising them as his own. Disputes can also occur if a man is informed that he is the father of a child many years after conception.

There may also be questions over paternity when it comes to the child’s birth certificate. This could be due to a father not being registered, or a different father being listed. This can often come to light when a passport is being applied for, or if changes are being made to the birth certificate or the child’s surname.

All of these issues can cause one or other of the parents involved to dispute the paternity of a child. Paternity can have a number of implications, both on a personal and legal level, and they can be difficult to resolve, so it is important to seek professional legal advice concerning your rights.

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Legal Framework for Paternity Disputes 

Establishing the paternity of a child is not always as straightforward as you might think but it is important when it comes to putting legal agreements in place as a result. It can play a major role in establishing child maintenance, parental responsibility and inheritance rights, and will ensure that the child receives the financial support that it needs as well as allowing them to establish their identity and for meaningful relationships to be formed.

A common way to establish the paternity of a child is through a DNA test. The person carrying out the test can only do so if they have permission from the adult being tested and the person with parental responsibility for the child. 

In some disputes, you may apply for a declaration of parentage during which a court may decide to order a DNA test to settle the matter, and the Child Maintenance Service can also order you to get a DNA test when establishing parentage in the matter of child maintenance. These tests must be carried out by accredited testing laboratories and will be able to establish whether or not two people are related using either a blood or saliva sample.

A petition can be filed with the Family Court to request a determination of paternity in order to settle the matter. The issue of parentage can be established through DNA testing or through a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, which is a form that is signed by both parents and is legally binding.

Establishing or contesting paternity can be a difficult matter and so it is important to seek professional legal advice on your rights and to help you navigate the procedures.

The Impact of Paternity Disputes on Parental Rights

Once paternity has been established, it is important to think about the ways in which this can affect parental rights. Determining paternity will give the father certain rights and responsibilities towards her child. One of the most important will relate to the issue of custody and visitation, as they will then be entitled to put agreements in place in relation to this. Establishing paternity will give the father the right to be involved in the life of the child, unless there are legal reasons why this should not be the case, such as the father posing a risk of harm to the child.

The father will also be financially responsible for the child, and so once paternity has been determined, an application can be made to the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) for child maintenance payments. It is important to remember that these are determined by the income of the father and not by how long he has known that he is the father. 

A father can also be the ‘presumed father’. This is someone who is considered to be the legal father of the child, whether or not he is biologically related to them. This is determined by things such as being married to the child’s mother when the child is born or by openly acknowledging the child as his own. This allows him to still be recognised as the legal father if he has established a parental relationship with the child.

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How Lovedays Solicitors Can Assist You 

Paternity issues might seem like they only feature on television, but they are a very real issue for many people. They can cause a lot of stress and heartache for everyone involved, and so it is important to address them promptly and properly in order to get the best result for everyone.That is why expert legal advice can be so important, as it can help to avoid many of the difficulties and uncertainties that may arise. 

At Lovedays Solicitors, we can help you with all matters relating to paternity disputes. We can provide you with full legal representation and can help you with any negotiations that are needed when it comes to establishing or contesting paternity, as well as dealing with the rights of the father as a result. Our experienced team can also help you with handling court procedures by preparing all necessary paperwork, talking you through the process, outlining the most likely outcomes and representing you in the court itself.

At Lovedays Solicitors, we pride ourselves on being both friendly and professional, and will treat each case on an individual basis without judgement or prejudice. We will take the time to understand your situation and offer you the best legal advice based on your position and your rights. We can help you to establish paternity or show you to be a presumed father, as well as contesting paternity issues and helping to determine custody arrangements, child maintenance and parental responsibility as a result of the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it illegal to lie about paternity?

Lying about paternity is known as paternity fraud. This is not a crime in England and Wales but is considered a civil wrong which could lead to legal action.

Can I refuse a DNA test?

If one party refuses a DNA test then the other can apply to the court for a declaration of parentage, and the court will decide whether a DNA test is in the best interest of the child.

Can you claim child maintenance if the father is not on the birth certificate?

Being named on the birth certificate is not a requirement but it can make the process easier.

Dealing with Joanne at Lovedays Family department was always a positive experience. She made sure I fully understood my legal situation and her communication style, always so clear and concise, helped me navigate my way through a difficult time.

I worked with Joanne Joyce and the team at Lovedays when my relationship broke down suddenly and I needed to understand my next steps in what was both a frightening, unexpected and complicated situation. Joanne was both supportive and informative and helped me gain closure swiftly, cleanly and without prolonged mitigation. I would recommend Lovedays highly to anybody who needs legal support.
Joanne was absolutely brilliant throughout the whole process of my family matter. Joanne provided sound pragmatic advice whilst being empathetic and truly supportive. Joanne was always quick and responsive at all times and always provided such sound advice, which I am and always will be so grateful for. Super professional service all around, delivered in a friendly and relaxed manner whilst providing reassurance at one of the most difficult and testing points in your life. I would not hesitate in recommending Joanne.
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    If you are facing the emotional and complex challenges of a paternity dispute, you don't have to navigate this difficult journey alone. At Lovedays Solicitors, our compassionate and experienced team is ready to offer you the expert legal support you need. We understand the personal nature of these issues and are dedicated to helping you achieve the best possible outcome for you and your child.

    Don't wait for the stress to build—reach out to Lovedays Solicitors today and let us guide you through this process with sensitivity and professionalism. Contact us now to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards resolving your paternity dispute.

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    About Lovedays

    Lovedays Solicitors, Potter and Co Solicitors and Andrew Macbeth Cash and Co Solicitors are the trading names of Derbyshire Legal Services Limited which is a company registered in England and Wales under company number 08838592. Registered office Sherwood House, 1 Snitterton Road, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3LZ.

    Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under SRA ID number 637916.

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