Paternity Disputes - natural father of child disputed or unclear

If there is a dispute about whether the father of the child is the child's natural father this can be resolved by the court. If you are a child you can apply to the court under the Family Law Act 1986 for a "Declaration" that a particular person is your parent and that you are the legitimate child of your parents.

If you are under 18, someone over 18 will have to make the application on your behalf, they are known as your "Next Friend".

Also if you are a father and you have been asked to pay child support, but you do not believe the child is yours, you can apply under the Child Support Act 1991 for a Declaration that either you are or you are not the father.

If in any proceedings under the Children Act there arises a dispute about parentage then the court will settle this dispute before making any Orders about the child.

To decide on parentage the court can order that both parents and the child must take blood tests. The parents will usually both have to pay for the cost of the blood tests. If you are on Public Funding then the Public Funding Board may agree to pay the costs of the blood tests for you.

No Order Principle - court order for a child only required if a dispute