Woman jailed after forging paternity test report
By Tracey Dargan and Natalie Melvill
A British woman has been jailed after supplying an ex-partner with fake paternity test results in order to convince him that her daughter was his child. Jamie Somers, a singer and Michael Buble impersonator, only discovered the deception after contacting the DNA testing company for more information, only to be told that he had never been tested.
Danielle Morris, who Mr Somers had a brief relationship with in 2013, pleaded guilty to fraud, stating that she had wanted to provide her now two-year old daughter with a father figure. By the time of the discovery, Mr Somers had paid a considerable sum in child maintenance, as well as looking after the child for a few days a week and having her name tattooed on his arm. Mr Somers, who had provided Ms Morris with funds to carry out the paternity test, subsequently organised his own DNA test and discovered that the girl was not his daughter.
With Father’s Day approaching this Sunday, Liverpool Crown Court’s judgment falls at a difficult time for Mr Somers, who has labelled the child as the real victim in this case.
However, with the occasion looming on the horizon, this is undoubtedly a good time to consider just what rights a father has towards a child.
As a starting point, a father should consider whether he has parental responsibility (‘PR’) for a child. PR is concerned with the care and upbringing of a child until they grow up. It gives the parent the right to make choices and decisions relevant to their child’s welfare e.g. medical or educational decisions. A father does not necessarily automatically have PR, although he will if he is married to the mother of the child at the time of the birth or in the event that the child was born on or after 1 December 2003 and the father is named on the child’s birth certificate. If as a father you do not have it, an application can be made to the court.
Fathers without PR can’t authorise medical treatment for their children (except in emergencies), see their medical records, or prevent their adoption, change of surname or removal abroad.
Parents have a deemed responsibility to try and agree the arrangements for their child. Of course, it is far better if parents can decide what is best for their child, however if this is not possible then an application can be made to the court. A judge will then decide the issue between them, which quite commonly relates to how much time the child should spend with each parent. In this type of case, the judge will presume that it is in the child’s interests to continue to have a relationship with both parents, unless a very good reason can be demonstrated as to why this is not the case. The first concern of the court is the child’s welfare.
If you need advice or assistance regarding a family law matter then please contact, Partner and Family Law Specialist, Tracey Dargan on 01992 300333.
Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.