Paternity | DNA paternity test

Determining the paternity of a child has become a fairly simple exercise with advancement in DNA paternity tests and are widely available to parents who are unsure of the paternity of their child.

DNA paternity tests must be done with the knowledge of the mother of the child and in cases where the child is not a minor, the DNA paternity test needs to be consented to by the child. In the event of a DNA paternity test being conducted without the knowledge of the consenting parties, the evidence or results of the DNA paternity test cannot be admitted into the court records and will end up delaying and case to determine paternity until the necessary consent to the DNA paternity test is freely given or a court order is obtained instructing the parties to perform the DNA paternity test.

Paternity tests are conducted by authorized laboratories and depending on the type of DNA paternity test, the results are 99.9% accurate in identifying the father of the child.

Determination of paternity is essential when one considers the implications of maintenance obligations on a father of a child in a divorce, which obligations continue until the child becomes self supporting. A fathers maintenance obligations can amount to many millions of rands depending on the child’s circumstances and it is recommended that you request a DNA paternity test if there is any doubt as to the paternity of the child in question.

In cases where a maintenance award has been made, it is an order of court and albeit that the paternity test finds that the person against whom the maintenance order has been made is in fact not the father of the child, it is still necessary to have the order set aside or changed accordingly.

If you are in doubt about the paternity of a child and the mother of the child is seeking a maintenance order against you, attempt to get her to agree to a DNA paternity test or seek an order of court compelling the mother to agree to a paternity test before any maintenance order is made.