Disputed paternity with a happy outcome

This week, Mr Billal Malik represented a client at the Family Court. Billal’s client had applied for (1) a Child Arrangements Order and (2) a declaration of Parental Responsibility.

The paternity issue

Billal’s client was the biological father of the subject child, who is now 2 ½ years’ old. The client had never met the child because, sadly, he had become estranged from the mother soon after the child’s conception and, following the child’s birth, the mother denied that the client was the biological father. The mother subsequently cut off all contact with the client and disappeared.

Following an order under section 33 of the Family Law Act 1986 (which allows the court to order a party to disclose information relevant to a child’s whereabouts),  the mother was located, a DNA test was ordered, and the client’s paternity was established. 

The parental responsibility issue

As family lawyers will know, under section 3 of the Children Act 1989, parental responsibility comprises all the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, a parent has in relation to a child. A child’s mother always has parental responsibility for the child, however, if the child’s mother was not married to the child’s father at the time of the birth and the father is not named on the birth certificate, the father will acquire parental responsibility only in limited circumstances, for example if he is able to obtain an order from the court.

In this case, because the child’s mother refused to have the client named on the birth certificate, and the client was not married to the child’s mother, an application to the court was necessary. The court granted the application.

The child arrangements order issue

The mother had refused to allow the client contact with the child because she alleged domestic abuse.

Billal helped the client to defend the allegations by bringing various local authority documents to the court’s attention which showed the mother’s allegations to be false. The evidence in fact showed that the mother did not want the client to be part of the child’s life because the mother had commenced a relationship with a new partner. The domestic abuse allegations were withdrawn.

The Result

The result of the proceedings was that the court made a final child arrangements order allowing the client regular direct contact with his daughter which he so desperately wanted and, was granted a parental responsibility order which enabled him to make important decisions in his daughter’s life.

Family court cases often result in heartache for clients and frustration for family lawyers. A happy outcome is always uplifting.

About Demstone Chambers

Demstone Chambers are a family law chambers with wide ranging experience in a variety of family law matters. We are based in Milton Keynes, but we are able to travel in order to represent clients wherever they need us. For advice or assistance regarding applications for child arrangements or parental responsibility orders, or any other family law matter, contact one of our family law barristers.


Demstone can help your case

Get in touch with us...