Last Updated on 4.8.22 by Nicola Fraser
From September 2015, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service is to provide between £500,000 to £1m a year, to pay for paternity testing in the English Family Courts.
Findings from two pilot schemes, in Bristol and Taunton, found that uncertainty about parentage often caused lengthy and acrimonious Court battles, and hindered progress being made in divorce proceedings.
The withdrawal of legal aid for many areas of family law, including DNA testing, has left some individuals unable to afford the paternity test fee and struggling to deal with what is often already an acrimonious and emotive issue.
Whilst the issue of paternity, ought to be remedied before a case reaches the Court arena, those cases that do, can often result in lengthy and costly Court battles.
Difficulties can arise in children’s cases, where one parent refuses contact, asserting that the other parent is not biologically related to the child and therefore has no legal rights; or where a parent seeks to avert paying child maintenance, claiming that they are not the child’s biological father.
It is hoped that the funding from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, will help parents remedy such issues, reducing the length of Court hearings and in turn assist the Court in saving time and money.