Secret paternity tests remain illegal

Secret paternity tests still may not be used as evidence in court. This is what the Federal Prosecution Court ruled Tuesday. This would violate the right of the child concerned to informational self-determination, it was argued. But the legislature must enact new provisions by the end of March 2008 to make it easier to verify paternity, the judges ruled.
Family counselor Ingrid Rasch advises families to have frank conversations with professional help.

The mother also has a personal right to decide for herself whether and to whom she gives insight into her sex life. However, the clarification of the child's parentage does not constitute an inadmissible encroachment on this right of personality, according to the Karlsruhe judges.The First Senate thus dismissed an appeal by a man who had based his action to challenge paternity on a secretly obtained DNA report and had thus failed before the Federal Court of Justice (BGH). In federal catch-all court, he had claimed a violation of his right to privacy.The legislature has failed to "provide a procedural avenue by which the right to know one's parentage can be adequately asserted and enforced" without necessarily attaching further legal consequences as in previous paternity challenge proceedings. Until 31. March 2008 an appropriate procedure had to be created.At the hearing in November, Federal Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries (SPD) had already announced the introduction of a draft law. In it, the requirements for opening father challenge suits should be lowered. At the same time, it should be ensured that the father does not necessarily have to renounce his child in order to have his paternity verified.The plaintiff had initially acknowledged paternity after the birth of his daughter in 1994, but then obtained a secret paternity test in 2002. For this purpose, he had a chewing gum allegedly spat out by the girl and a saliva sample of himself analyzed in a private laboratory, without the knowledge and consent of mother and child. The investigation found that he could not be the child's biological father. However, his action to contest paternity based on this expert opinion was rejected by the Hildesheim Local Court, the Celle Higher Regional Court and the Federal Court of Justice. Reaction It is contrary to the sense of justice to criminalize those who seek certainty through paternity tests. Men should be able to know with the same degree of certainty as women whether a child is descended from them, emphasized Saarland Justice Minister Josef Hecken (CDU).According to the minister, a ban on secret paternity tests deliberately accepts a break-up of family structures. As an alternative to a secret test, there is only the official challenge of paternity in court. "This usually leads to an open confrontation of the partners and damages the bonds within the family without necessity," said Hecken. A trusting relationship for the benefit of the child was then hardly possible, even if the parentage of the father was confirmed by the test. Applicable law Under current law, men who doubt their paternity can challenge their paternity in court. Judges also have the option of ordering a paternity test against the mother's will if there are grounds for suspicion. Only secret tests are not accepted.

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