Men who are unsure as to whether they are the child's father are well-advised to put money aside regularly so that they are able to pay any back maintenance if the child turns out to be theirs.
The CSA will not pay back any maintenance, a man has paid towards a child's upkeep, if DNA tests show he is not the father. If a man is unsure whether the child is his, then the sooner the DNA tests are done the better.
A man may have Parental Responsibility because he is named as the father on the child's birth certificate but not be the biological father.
Please note that even if a man is not the child's father, and has no Parental Responsibility, if he loves the child and has looked after the child, he will be able to apply to the courts to stay in the child's life.
How do you establish whether the child is yours? You need a DNA test. This will show either you are definitely not the father, ( 100% accuracy) or that there is a 99% chance that you are the father.
1. Do it yourself
You may want to use a Father-Child DNA Kit that you can buy on-line for around £100-£160. We found Who'z the Daddy, Genetrack, International Biosciences on our first trawl of the Internet using Google. We have no idea whether these are reputable or not.
Kits have instructions inside. You have to take swabs and the results take 2-4 weeks.
This test is not legally recognised by the court, the CSA or the mother. It does however help the father decide whether he is right to have doubts.
2. There are two routes that can't be disputed, via the CSA and via the Courts.
The CSA route should be quicker.
You can only use the CSA route if either mother or father has made an application for maintenance or maintenance payments have already been made
An authorised GP ( not usually your GP) will take swabs from mother, father and child independently. It will cost around £280-£320. It can take 3-4 months.
- If you are using the CSA route because you do not want to pay maintenance and the test shows you are not the father, you will be refunded the cost of the DNA test and any maintenance paid after the date the DNA test request was made.
- If the test shows you are the father, the CSA will expect you to pay maintenance. This will be a legal requirement on you.
If you are using the CSA route because you believe you are the father and you want to stay in the child's life, but mum is denying you are the father: you need to make it very clear this is the case. If you are worried about the mother's mental state and the safety of the child, please make this clear to the CSA who hopefully will try and fast track the tests. Copy any correspondence of this nature to your MP to keep him/her in the loop.
Some information of the Court route is explained on this page. Ask your solicitor to make an application for you.
Even if you have a positive DNA result, it does not automatically give you Parental Responsiblity or contact but it can be used in court as evidence.
Sometimes it is worth having a DNA test for tactical reasons, such as a fear that mother will try and introduce another man as the real biological father at a later stage.