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DNA tests and declarations of parentage

What to do if there's an issue regarding the current parentage of a child.

How do you prove a child belongs to parent?

If you believe you are the father of a child, or you are the mother of a child and you are seeking to establish who the father is, you can apply to court for a declaration of parentage.

What is a declaration of parentage?

A declaration of parentage is a legal document that declares a named individual as the legal parent of a child. The application for a declaration of parentage is made under Section 55A of the Family Law Act 1986.

Can I add a father to a child’s birth certificate?

A declaration of parentage by the court means a birth certificate can be amended to reflect who the biological parents are.

Once it has been established who the father is, the father can add his name to a child’s birth certificate.

What happens if the wrong person is on a birth certificate, and they are not the father?

A declaration of parentage means a birth certificate can be corrected.

A name can be removed from the birth certificate of a child if an incorrect father is named.

If a declaration of parentage has been decided by the court and the applicant is declared to be the parent, they will not need to apply to add the father’s name to the birth certificate. The court will tell the General Register Office and the birth will be re-registered.

Consequently, the non-biological father will lose his parental responsibility rights. If legal rights are required, they should seek specialist legal advice.

Does a declaration of parentage give parental responsibility?

A declaration of parentage will not automatically provide someone with parental responsibility.

What is the process to get a declaration of parentage?

If parentage is in dispute, the form to complete to make an application for a declaration of parentage is the C63 form.

The court should list a first hearing. The court will order a DNA test if necessary. If both parties agree to the paternity testing then the test can be arranged with an accredited expert.

If one party is opposed to the application this can be complicated and you should seek specialist legal advice.

Once the declaration is made the court will notify the General Register Office and the birth certificate is re-registered. A replacement birth certificate will be issued with the amended information on it.

If you'd like further guidance on any aspects of determining the parentage of a child, please contact one of our expert child law solicitors.

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