Q: I have just discovered that I have fathered a son with my former partner. Apparently, she deliberately got pregnant and her only interest in me was for that purpose. Whilst I will not ever forgive her for using me, I would like to get to know my son and play a part in his life. I have contacted my ex-partner to tell her this, but she will not talk to me about it and says she does not want me in her life or our son’s life. Do I have any legal right to be involved in his life?
A: If you are the child’s natural father you automatically have a financial responsibility for him, but you only have parental responsibility if you are registered on his birth certificate as the father. Your name could be added to the birth certificate as the father, if his mother agrees to it.
Alternatively, you could apply to the court for a child arrangements order, and you could do this without the mother’s consent. However, without you appearing on the child’s birth certificate as his father you have no parental responsibility but you do have a right to see the child and make an application to the Court for an Order to see him.
If the mother disputes that you are the father, or if you are unsure, you may firstly need to establish paternity with the courts through a DNA test.
You should seek legal advice from a family solicitor who would be able to help with the process involved in proving paternity and gaining a child arrangements order that would give you parental rights, as it can be complex.
This question has been answered by Alison Peters, a Partner with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email.