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

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 21 Jan 2018 | 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 am 26 and have known my dad all my life but he was only put on my birth certificate when I was about 22 years old and because of this I have no claim to citizenship through my father (he is a Jamaican British citizen and my mother is polish) I have been advised if I have DNA test done to send of to home office they can issue me with British citizen letter so I can then get my British passport. My father is however refusing to comply with a DNA test which is getting in my way of being able to get a passport. Is their anything that I can do that will make him have to comply with the DNA test? Thanks
Stayc - 21-Jan-18 @ 5:12 PM
Hi. My hubby is away to turn 30. He has never had a dad in his life but was always told it was this man. We got in touch, done a Dna and turns out he isn’t the dad. His mum lied and we were given the name of his father. But my hubby is sceptical about accepting that this man is his father without a Dna test. This man is refusing due to his partners say so. She doesn’t want her partners secret out as they have their own kids together. Hence stopping any progression. My hubby wants nothing from them other than the truth. What can he do? Many thanks
Daddycool - 27-Dec-17 @ 4:56 PM
Terri - Your Question:
Hi, I'm a 43 year old woman and have been told all my life that my dad was my dad, he left at birth.I met him at age 26 and seen no familiarity with features etcI decided to take a DNA test and it came back negative????!My mother explained she slept with a man 2 weeks before, I have his name and address, I tried to contact him, and told him the situation,and he verbally abused me, but yet, he didnt deny it either. can I take him to court and order a DNA I just want to know who my biological father is??? I'm from Tasmania Australia please someone help me ??

Our Response:
We can't really comment on non-UKcases but we don't think there's a way you can force a DNA test as you're no longer a "dependant" etc
AboutHumanRights - 8-Dec-17 @ 3:34 PM
Hi, I'm a 43 year old woman and have been told all my life that my dad was my dad, he left at birth. I met him at age 26 and seen no familiarity with features etc I decided to take a DNA test and it came back negative????! My mother explained she slept with a man 2 weeks before, I have his name and address, I tried to contact him, and told him the situation,and he verbally abused me, but yet, he didnt deny it either... can I take him to court and order a DNAI just want to know who my biological father is??? I'm from Tasmania Australia please someone help me ??
Terri - 7-Dec-17 @ 11:25 PM
jd - Your Question:
Hi my daughter is 26 and 3 years ago I noticed that a man who might question if my daughter was really mine or not is friends with her on Facebook wishing her happy birthday each year and congratulations comments on her recent pregnancy. which after talking to my ex wife she laughed off and said something could have happened but it didn’t and she’d never cheated on me which still has def not convinced me as looking through pictures of him and his family look amazingly like my daughter and grandson! What can I do as it really clearly isn’t right that he sits smugly in the background prob knowing the truth and had no previous involvement till the year before I found out and having according to my ex wife only met my daughter once?

Our Response:
We don't really know what you can do about this other than a DNA test to see whether your daughter is yours?
AboutHumanRights - 27-Nov-17 @ 10:56 AM
my mom just told me who my biological father is an im 34 yrs old i would like to know what my rights are. do i even have any rights
babygirl - 25-Nov-17 @ 2:31 AM
Hi my daughter is 26 and 3 years ago I noticed that a man who might question if my daughter was really mine or not is friends with her on Facebook wishing her happy birthday each year and congratulations comments on her recent pregnancy. which after talking to my ex wife she laughed off and said something could have happened but it didn’t and she’d never cheated on me which still has def not convinced me as looking through pictures of him and his family look amazingly like my daughter and grandson! What can I do as it really clearly isn’t right that he sits smugly in the background prob knowing the truth and had no previous involvement till the year before Ifound out and having according to my ex wife only met my daughter once?
jd - 23-Nov-17 @ 4:19 AM
My daughter is 26 and is heartbroken her dad denies her and people hurt her saying he isn't what can she do
Mrs b - 12-Nov-17 @ 7:30 PM
I was adopted twice and my natural father is guy named Les John Wilson used to play for Wolverhampton is the Canadian footballers hall of fame. I got an email from Croydon adoption authority saying he does not know the woman he slept with,my mother. All I want ris to contact him, and being able to have a DNAtest to clarify what my natural mother told me after I trace her after she was forced to give my up for adoption when she gave birth to meat 17 years old. If anyone would know how to help me so I can put my mind to rest and this gentleman proves if he is my father.
Bobby - 26-Oct-17 @ 6:46 PM
Bee - Your Question:
Hi I'm 27 years old and I just found out who my father is and I found out where he lived went to go see him but he denied me could I file a paternity test?

Our Response:
You could try the courts, but they will only order this if they feel there is a good reason.
AboutHumanRights - 20-Sep-17 @ 2:32 PM
Hi I'm 27 years old and I just found out who my father is and I found out where he lived went to go see him but he denied me could I file a paternity test?
Bee - 13-Sep-17 @ 11:38 PM
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
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