Understandably, a father would want to be sure of his position as the child's parent, especially if he is expected to pay maintenance and take responsibility for the child.
For this reason, South African courts facilitate independent paternity tests. But as this father wrote to share, he didn't believe the results, and he asked what to do next.
He wrote: "I need advice: what do I do if my alleged baby mama faked the paternity DNA test? We did a DNA test through the maintenance court, and it came out positive, but I still believed the child is not mine since my ancestors are busy harassing me for this issue.
I privately took the child to a private laboratory, and it turns out I'm not the father. What do I do? And why are the results different of those of the court? Is our justice system doing this to men?"
Another test can be requested
Felicity An Guest, a maintenance activist and founder of Child Maintenances Difficulties in South Africa, reassures him that a mother can't fake a paternity test as it is done through an independent laboratory, even if it goes through maintenance court.
"He does not say if the mother was present with the second paternity test, which is a requirement. If she had been present, paternity would have been ruled out by the court as this test would have been recognised or a third test could be requested by the court," she adds.
A second test can be requested provided he pays for it, as the law requires the father to pay for the test. Should it be negative, he can claim the expenses back from the mother, and should he not have the means the state will pay.
"It is not common that paternity tests are tampered with," Guest assures us, "however, errors may occur at laboratories."
Confirmation of Paternity
The father is required to sign a Confirmation of Paternity form before a maintenance application is finalised, Section 21 of the Maintenance Act states:
(b) that the mother of the child as well as the person who is allegedly the father of the child are prepared to submit themselves as well as the child, if the mother has parental authority over the said child, to the taking of blood samples in order to carry out scientific tests regarding the paternity of that child, and
(c) that such mother or such person or both such mother and such person are unable to pay the costs involved in the carrying out of such scientific tests, the maintenance officer
Section (2) (a) can enquire into the means to pay and section (b) the other circumstances which should in the opinion of the maintenance court be taken into consideration.
(a) make provision for the state to pay
(b) make no order
Guest explains that in this case the father has recourse to address his claim that he is still not convinced he is the father, and if affordability is the issue, the state should and can pay.
"The court is impartial in matters of paternity and they have a legal obligation to conclusively establish paternity," she says.
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