Application for a declaration of paternity

What is a declaration of paternity?

n application for a declaration of paternity is an application to the court for it to declare the paternity of a child. The court has the power to direct scientific tests to be undertaken on behalf of the child to determine parentage, and may draw inferences from a refusal to cooperate.

Why you may need a declaration of paternity

  • Paternity can have significant financial implications in terms of child maintenance liability and other financial obligations. The CSA will assume that a man is the father if he is registered as the father on the child's birth certificate or if he refuses to voluntarily cooperate with paternity testing or he was married to the mother at the time of the child's birth.
  • If there is any uncertainty about a child's paternity it is generally regarded as being in the child's best interests for his/hers's paternity to be established so that the child can grow up knowing his/her true identity.

When is it appropriate to apply?

  • If both parties consent to paternity testing, the tests can be arranged voluntarily without the involvement of the court.
  • If either of the parents does not cooperate voluntarily, either party can apply to the court for a declaration of parentage under section 55A of the Family Law Act 1986.

How we can help

  • We can advise you about the implications of paternity and negotiate with the other party to persuade her/him to agree to DNA testing voluntarily. If agreement can be reached, we can assist with arranging the testing through an approved organisation.
  • If the other party does not cooperate, we can assist you with a referral to mediation and support you through the mediation process.
  • If matters cannot be agreed through negotiation or mediation, we can help you make an application for a declaration of parentage through the courts and will represent you in the proceedings.

Fixed fee application

If you are unable to reach an agreement about paternity testing and have no other option but to pursue a court application, we charge a fixed fee of £400 + VAT (£80) + court fees (£200 only payable by the applicant), total £680 for preparing the court application and all work up to and including representation at the first court appointment. Further fees will be payable if your case does not settle at the first appointment.

Need further advice?

f you need more detailed advice about paternity testing call us on (01228) 829530 to arrange an initial consultation or request a free call back.