Dear Mrs Macaulay,
My ex-boyfriend is refusing to do a DNA test to confirm that my child is his. I went to the Family Court and took out an order of paternity, and he was present for court but failed to set a date for the DNA test. Then he told me that his wife works at the Registrar General's Department and she's going to find out about the child if he changes the child's name to his. I am confused and I don't know what action to take to get this man to participate in doing the DNA test. Can you please advise me as to the next steps that I should take to go forward with this matter? Thank you.
I have noted the contents of your letter and understand your problem. You in fact applied for a declaration of paternity to the Family Court. You did not and cannot “take out an order of paternity”. Your application is for the court to declare at the end of the proceedings, based on the evidence brought to its attention, that the man is the father of your child. This would, of course, be done without any difficulty after the production of a DNA report, if it incontrovertibly shows that he is the father of your child. After the declaration is made that he is your child's father, the records of your child's birth at the Registrar General's Department would be corrected to include this fact and you would have to obtain new certified copies of the birth certificate which would disclose the father's name and particulars, which would entitle your child to use such a name.
Since you say that your baby's father has failed to obey the order of the court to do a DNA test because he is afraid that his wife would find out, he is and can be found guilty of contempt of the court.
What you should do in these circumstances is simple, really. You should go back to court and tell the judge about your babyfather's refusal to go and have the DNA test ordered, as well as the reason he gave you for his refusal.
His refusal will not affect the proceedings being brought to an end with the declaration of paternity your child needs. You see, the law gives the judge the power to proceed to a determination of the matter, even if the alleged father does not reappear in court. The judge can take the father's refusal to do the test into account in reaching a conclusion and to act accordingly. This is to say that the judge would make the declaration in favour of your child being his. Think about it, a man who refuses to do a DNA test must be doing so because he knows with certainty that the child is his. What other reason would cause him to refuse?
So please just go back to the court and get your declaration of paternity, then your child will get what he/she is entitled to and have the father's particulars in his/her birth records and birth certificate and his/her rightful name.
All the best.
Margarette May Macaulay is an attorney-at-law, Supreme Court mediator, notary public, and women's and children's rights advocate. Send questions via e-mail to email@example.com; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5. All responses are published. Mrs Macaulay cannot provide personal responses.
The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.