Q&A - DNA shows I am not the children's father, but I brought them up so surely I have a right to see them?

19/09/2016

Q.  I have raised my partner’s two children as my own for the past ten years. Even though DNA results show that biologically they are not mine, the children have known no other father and they believed I was their father. Now their mother has left me and she is denying me any contact with the children. I am absolutely devastated as they were my life. Is there anything I can do?

A.  As you are technically not the children’s father you do not have the automatic right to make an application to the Court for an Order to see them. However, you are able to apply to the Court for permission to make an application to see the children in the same way as a grandparent or other family member would do.

As you can show that you have a ‘connection’ to the children you should be given permission to make the application to the Court. Your application to see the children would then be treated in the same way as if you were their father and the Court would consider whether it would be in the best interests of the children to have a relationship with you.

Clearly you can show that you have treated them as your own children and they have believed you are their father, so you are effectively their ‘psychological father’ and unless the mother can come up with a good reason why you should not see them, I would expect the Court to make an Order that the mother makes the children available to spend time with you.

The Court will probably want you to attempt mediation before commencing Court proceedings and it may well be that mediation in this case will assist. However, as this answer is based on minimal information given, you should take advice from a family lawyer as a first step.

Alison Peters

Alison Peters

Partner

A Partner in our Family and Matrimonial department in Oswestry

Nathan Wright

Nathan Wright

Partner

A Partner specialising in Family and Matrimonial Law