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Is it My Right to Know If He's Really My Father?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 20 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Is It My Right To Know If He's Really My Father?

Q.

I am almost 60 years old and my father now claims that he may not be my father. He is elderly and has said that he will do a DNA test and then he says that he will not.

Do I have a human right to know the truth of the matter and to insist that he performs this test to prove or disprove his claims? I seem to have an overwhelming need to know.

(LT, 10 February 2009)

A.

To be told that the person you believed was your father for nearly sixty years 'may not be', would be a tremendous shock. Your father, who must be at least about 80, seems to be playing with your emotions. First he tells you that you 'may not be' his daughter. Then he dangles the promise of the truth, in the form of a DNA test, in front of you.

If this is the first suggestion, in nearly sixty years, that he is not your father – one is left to wonder if this revelation may be the result of an age-related condition rather than any basis in fact. Have you discussed your father’s allegation with other family members?

Your question is about the rights of a child to know who his or her parents are. In legal terms, if a man was married to the child’s mother at the time of the birth and is named on the birth certificate as the child’s father, it is presumed that he is the father. Firm evidence, usually in the form of a DNA test, would have to be provided in order to rebut this presumption.

In some situations where a child’s paternity is an issue in a legal case, a court may order that a DNA test be carried out to resolve the question of paternity. In the case of a child, under the age of 18, the courts or other authorities may decide that it is not in the child’s best interests to know who his or her biological father is. Children who are adopted have the right, once they have reached 18, to find out who their biological parents are.

Many people believe that it is a fundamental human right to know who one’s biological parents are. The relevant provision of the Human Rights Convention would be Article 8 – the right to respect for private and family life. Arguably this includes the right to information about one’s identity. However this right is not absolute and other factors could override the right.

If your father refuses to have a DNA test, you could apply to a court for an order forcing your father to take a test. This could be done on the basis of your potential inheritance rights. An application may be made under section 56 of the Family Law Act 1986 by an adult child for a declaration as to the identity of their father. However, bringing court proceedings against your elderly father would not be a step to be taken lightly and independent legal advice should be sought before going down this path.

Many companies offer private, or so-called 'peace of mind', DNA tests – an appropriate sample is collected from the subject and sent to a laboratory for testing. This could answer your question but the truth could be devastating, the legality surrounding the test may be questionable and the result could not be used in a legal case.

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Hi , I was out Ifoster care at 14 . I was told the man that had brought me up was not my dad. I you d my bio dad. He has refused me a dna test. I have offered to pay for it and I have also told him we do not need to have a relationship and so on but he is refusing to give me one. I want one as I have asked the question who is my dad for 15 yrs now . If he is not I can close this chapter on move on. Could I take him to court for a dna test. (UK)
Tinyt - 20-Jul-17 @ 12:24 PM
I am aware of the man whom is supposed to be my father but due to his desire to deny me he moved on an married. I have tried personally to reach out to him via a social media platform as there is no other way to reach him!I can obtain an address etc legally can I make him take a DNA test?
Shez - 14-Jul-17 @ 3:32 PM
Hi there, I have recently been contacted by a 23 years old girl via face book who claims I am her father. It is a possibility as I knew her mother all those years ago but have had no contact with any of them in all that time. I am happily married with 2 boys of my own, aged 30 and 25 and this would be devastating to my family if it were true. She is threatening solicitors to force a DNA test, can I be forced into this ? Many thanks,G
Gaz - 21-Jun-17 @ 8:34 PM
Are there any organisations that offer advice on how to make contact with your father? I think I know my dad's name/contact details but need a dna test and not sure how to approach it. Thanks
Rightoknow - 15-Jun-17 @ 10:22 PM
Confused - Your Question:
Well I just got a good relationship with the man I've always known as my dad. My mom located a man that could possibly be my biological father but I'm unsure if I want to dig and find out because I have kids of my own now and I don't want to confuse them even tho I'm confused myself. I asked my dad if he wanted to do a dna test but he told me he doesn't need one because I'm his child regardless my question is would it be best just to leave it alone or is there a way to go about finding out the truth without hurting the man I've always known as my dad and myself?

Our Response:
We can't really help you with this as it's more a moral dilemma than and rights/legal one.
AboutHumanRights - 15-Jun-17 @ 2:15 PM
Well Ijust got a good relationship with the man I've always known asmy dad.. My mom located a man that could possibly be my biological father but I'm unsure if I want to dig and find out because I have kids of my own now and I don't want to confuse them even tho I'm confused myself. I asked my dad if he wanted to do a dna test but he told me he doesn't need one because I'm his child regardless my question is would it be best just to leave it alone oris there a way to go about finding out the truth without hurting the man I've always known as my dad and myself?
Confused - 13-Jun-17 @ 5:42 AM
My name is Jason Harcourt and I live in Australia. I am searching for my biological father. My mother had an affair when she was very young and is unsure of the correct information regarding my father and the pronunciation and spelling of his surname. Over the years I have never known a father figure. My curiosity has got the better of me, and I have completed numerous campaigns to try and locate him. I have now completed some DNA testingand my only information is that my father’s probable name was Tony (Anthoni, Anthony or Antonio) and surname is possibly Morona but this spelling may not be correct. He was born in Italy approximately 1955 and immigrated to Australia in the early 1960’s to live in Adelaide in South Australia. Unfortunately that is all the information I have at the moment This is purely to help me to understand my family history and heritage. Thank you for your assistance, in helping me achieve my goals Kind regards
J.harcourt - 12-Jun-17 @ 11:19 AM
Hi, I'm 45 and I was able to meet with a man that my mother said was my father for 45years.. he stated that I don't look like him and no way I could be his.. he was married when he dated my mother and his wife had cancer at the time ...he had 2 daughters with first wife that had passed and now he's married and has a son.. he said he won't do a paternity test so this kind of tells me he's not wanting to find out the real results.. what can I do.. I'll do what ever it takes .I need to know medical history before he passes as he's almost 70 and I'm diabetic with no history on my mothers side..thanks you.. please help if you can in anyway
Lost - 6-Jun-17 @ 8:49 PM
I was adopted at birth and at 18 searched for my birth certificate and was given a certificate without any record of the actual adoption to support the information given.There was also a disclaimer to say that the information given may not be correct.In the event of there being no formal record of the adoption I did not believe the information on the certificate. Yet a meeting was set up with the woman whose name was on my certificate.It turns out she had a girl called Rachel who she gave up for adoption but continued to pretend to be my mother I am K.Having found my birth mother years later,would like to petition through the court a DNA test from the woman who put her name on my birth certificate to confront her with the facts and proceed form there with legal action.How can I petition her for a DNA test?
Katie - 5-Jun-17 @ 10:35 AM
Ree - Your Question:
I have a young man who is 22 and his bio mother left him when he was 1 with his step dad who demanded basically that he go on the birth certificate at time of birth. I just helped him locate his bio father so his mom says, they do look alike but the man is wanting a dna can they get one for free and where do they start. The man is willing to do DNA thank you for your help.

Our Response:
We don't know whether you will be able to get one for free. If incorrect information has been given deliberately this is fraud and legal action could be taken against the parent/step parent - the courts in a case like that might order a DNA test for proof.
AboutHumanRights - 25-May-17 @ 9:46 AM
I have a young man who is 22 and his bio mother left him when he was 1 with his step dad who demanded basically that he go on the birth certificate at time of birth. I just helped him locate his bio father so his mom says, they do look alike but the man is wanting a dna can they get one for free and where do they start.... The man is willing to do DNA thank you for your help.
Ree - 24-May-17 @ 4:56 AM
I recently found my dad after 37 years. Hes never been in my life. Ive always knew very little about him just that he had 2 additional girls and is married. After many years trying to search off and on for him i finally found him and his girls. I never met them. I have talked to one girl over the phone. "My dad" will not attempt to talk to me or about me and insist he is not my father, but rather my uncle and accuses his brother of being my father. ( and still wont talk to me even with his own accusations saying hes my uncle..heehee) bottom line i have no time for his lies or anyones lies. What are my rights here for a paternity test just to know who my dad is? My mother has always told me it was him and has never changed her story. Honestly he never been there for her so theres nothing to gain from lying so i do believe her. His own daughter also feels like we may be related and sees some resemblence in each other.Truthfully i have to agree with her. Please advise.
Justme - 19-Apr-17 @ 1:43 PM
peanuts - Your Question:
My father passed away ,I hadn't seen him since I was 8 years old, leaving a note behind saying he wasn't my father, is there a way to find out if this is true or not thankyou

Our Response:
We don't know how much information you have. Have you asked your mother about it?
AboutHumanRights - 18-Apr-17 @ 10:15 AM
my father passed away ,I hadn't seen him since I was 8 years old, leaving a note behind saying he wasn't my father, is there a way to find out if this is true or not thankyou
peanuts - 15-Apr-17 @ 3:02 AM
Frog - Your Question:
I'm a43year old man and just found out that the man that raise men is Not my real dad. My mom passed when I was 11 of lucena cancer. And he raised me until I was 14,15 then in my on,,, my dying aunt told me the secret. We did d n a test on this man an 99% poss. All my brothers r dead from sucidide or cancer? My life is an has been turned upside down I'm at a point of doing the same sum days,,, I hate myself and need to get this man to do right thing. He said he's was a sperm doner an wants nothing to do with me?? He doesn't even know me? Please help

Our Response:
If he was genuinely a sperm donor (ie via a fertility clinic) then there he does not have any responsibilities or obligations towards you.
AboutHumanRights - 11-Apr-17 @ 12:23 PM
I'm a43year old man and just found out that the man that raise men is Not my real dad. My mom passed when I was 11 of lucena cancer. And he raised me until I was 14,15 then in my on,,, my dying aunt told me the secret. We did d n a test on this man an 99% poss. All my brothers r dead from sucidide or cancer? My life is an has been turned upside down I'm at a point of doing the same sum days,,, I hate myself and need to get this man to do right thing. He said he's was a sperm doner an wants nothing to do with me?? He doesn't even know me? Please help
Frog - 9-Apr-17 @ 8:44 PM
I am twenty three years old, never met my dad...ever! Have been told little information. One full name, no age, no possible whereabouts, connections...not even looks, build or age. I have after many years of searching found a local man by the name which is an unusual one. It's my word against his but is there a possible way to enforce a DNA test?
PJ - 24-Mar-17 @ 11:14 PM
My mother's first marriage ended in divorce and birth of my older brother my birth however has always been a problem as I have same last name as my brother and his dad however no father listed on birth certificate have always been told he was not my dad but always suspected he was he is now deceased what are my chances of contesting inheritance from him if truly believe he was my dad
gina - 22-Mar-17 @ 8:56 AM
I am 45 i found out when i was 24 about who my biological father is. He refuses to take a DNA test he is not on my birth certificate. I have only talked to him once on the phone an he said i had inherited a few of his traits but, now asking for a DNA test but refuses to take one. I need to know for my identity an health issues. What is my options?
Tina - 20-Mar-17 @ 9:57 PM
Gail - Your Question:
I am 58 know who my father is but I need to have a paternity test done,for inheritance reasonsI have another mans name on my birth certificate I just need to have some advice how to deal with this situation

Our Response:
We suggest you seek professional legal advice in this instance. If you want to insist on a DNA test for paternity, your might have to do so via the courts.
AboutHumanRights - 14-Mar-17 @ 1:57 PM
I am 58 know who my father is but I need to have a paternity test done,for inheritance reasons I have another mans name on my birth certificate I just need to have some advice how to deal with this situation
Gail - 12-Mar-17 @ 5:50 PM
My question is.Can I establish my paternal heritage and my entitlement to dual natiomalty? . My mother dies in 2003 taking the identity of my father with her.I have a name and have been in contact with a man who is the brother of somebody who was in the right area at the right time and remarkably in my case has the name my mother gave.I say remarkable as it is a Maltese name which I am sure would have been in fairly shirt supply in 1965.The man I contacted assures me that both he and my potential father have no recollection of my mother. All the pieces fitted yet tge puzzle still remains. What are my legal rights? Am I to believe that I have no way of claiming what should be a birthright.I do not want anything from this other than my right to my own identity.
cyberpops - 20-Feb-17 @ 3:48 PM
I really forgot to mention the most important part. I know from my living DNA that I am Ashkenazi Jewish, and where my mother's halpo type is. My DNA living also suggests, although this in not conclusive, that I have the pattern of genes that might make up part of me as a Sephardic Jew as well. This would make me almost 50% Jewish combined. If my brother's haplo type is Jewish in origin, and not Ashkenazi or only Ashkenazi but the same pattern as mine, possibly I would have proof that I am closer to 50% Jewish. Do you see what I mean. They use to only look at maternal lineage but with DNA or genomics, we can now know for sure if someone is Jewish or not. It would add to the proof and add to the amount, possibly, of Jewishness I have, plus it would be so good to know what part of the world his old ancestors came from, as I am interested in following their footsteps, and knowing better where they dispersed, and what their experiences are. Of course if my brother has no AJ Jewish Genes than I also would know my father's father was not my real grandfather, and I think it only fair he shares that with me. I feel he doesn't own this information, but that it belongs to both of us. There should be a law to this effect?
Not so French - 5-Feb-17 @ 8:20 AM
My question is a bit different. My mother and father are both known to me and I do not doubt my father's paternity. The fact is that he had a set of parents and they had three children, of which he was the only male )recieving the Y chromosome). My father has died, many years ago, and my brother is the only living person alive related to my dad that could give me his DNA Haplotype, and his DNA so I can one compare to mine, and two use it to show proof of Jewish Heritage (in the reform church you only need one male or female parent, or grandparents to be considered Jewish, if you want to convert, which is my situation.) I have my mother's DNA and she has no Jewish DNA, but I have a lot, and it suggests my father or his father was 100% Jewish. So the only way I can get this informationi is from my brother. I also want to know what possible other genetic conditions our family might inherit, if my brother has copies of similar ones, etc. I am not sure of this part. Anyway, I asked him if he would do this, and he flat out said no, with no explanation. He is the only relative I can get this from, and it makes a difference for me on many levels, mostly for converting to Judaism. Is there a way I can get a court order to make him take the Ancestry type DNA test, and share it with me,? We have some heart and lipid issues that are fatal, and my dad may have died of one of them, and we would know from one of the test if he might have had this condition. Also, my son has a condition and we can't figure out where he got it f rom. I don't know that it would be helpful or not in my son's case, but might be helpful in predictingfuture health issues for myself and maybe my children. Can you give me an answer to this situation?
Not so French - 5-Feb-17 @ 8:04 AM
i m 31 and was raised by my grandmother who is now late,im now working and have kids but my question is can i stil claim money from my biological father as he is finantially stable but never raised me
aggy - 1-Feb-17 @ 11:39 AM
I'm 28. My mother (who is white with fair hair and blue eyes) told me when I was 5 years old that the man I believed to be my Father wasn't and that a man from southern England was (who is also white with blue eyes) and who is now deceased...I have olive skin and green eyes and have always questioned whether my mother is being entirely honest or not...but my predicament now is the fact my 'biological' father has now passed away so how would I be able to find out for sure without obviously having access to his dna results?
CPounder04 - 26-Jan-17 @ 1:07 AM
Oi Oi i have no problems as my family ACTUALLY love me
Big Boy Kendawg - 9-Jan-17 @ 11:29 AM
What is a good test to take. I'm 44 and the man I knew as my dad is still here but because if my mothers lies he wonders out if 8 kids which ones are his. I want to know as well. Tired if the lies and disconnect in this family. Please help.
Sweetk - 16-Dec-16 @ 12:27 PM
I need some answers.My mother who is deceased has told me that the man who gave me my name Missy Gayle Elkins is not my father. I was 13 when she said this and has said it until the day she passed.He tells me that I am his and will not do a DNA test.I had a very bad childhoodand I feel I need the truth.he said that he meet my mother new years eve of 65.They are married in 3-1967.I was born 8-1967. Some thing is not adding up. I just want the truth,but can not get it.I am now 49.I have never had a good relationship with him.
NotSure - 25-Nov-16 @ 10:23 PM
Ken - Your Question:
I'm 37, so this is obviously an adult child scenario. It is ultimately disappointing and frustrating that he can, firstly, behave in this way, but from a legal perspective cast aspersions with no consequence upon him. Is there nothing that can be done from a probate perspective or does that need to be after he has passed away?

Our Response:
We don't know about this scenario - you might want to seek legal advice sorry.
AboutHumanRights - 17-Nov-16 @ 12:26 PM
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