Long story cut short my wife had an affair while we were still living together and I found out she was pregnant shortly before finding out about the affair. She resists talking to me about the unborn child now we are separated as she doesn't want her new partner to know we were sexually active during the affair. Can I force a DNA test to be carried out as we are still married and weren't separated at the time the child was conceived.

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    Do you believe that the child is yours and you intend to claim parental rights, that the child is not yours and you intend to disclaim maintenance responsibility, or do you not have any clear idea one way or the other and need to know so that you can decide your course of action one way or the other?
    – brhans
    Jun 11, 2018 at 13:22
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    I don't have any idea, but we were sexually active during the affair so there is a possibility the child is mine, and the fair thing to do is find out regardless of my feelings regarding responsibility or maintenance.
    – John Bell
    Jun 11, 2018 at 13:53
  • Related, you may still be responsible for child support upon a split even if someone else fathers the child. It happened in a Maryland case (I live MD) but I cannot find a reference. A blue-eyed baby was born to a couple with a man without blue eyes (genetically impossible). The man had the baby's DNA tested and learned he did not father it. The couple subsequently split. The court reasoned the child only knew the husband as her father, so the husband was responsible for the support even though the wife had an affair and another man fathered the child
    – jww
    Sep 20, 2018 at 20:45
  • OK, I did a little more digging. I still cannot find the MD case, but it appears the principals to hold the husband responsible for support are "presumption of legitimacy" and "paternity by estoppel". If my recollection is correct, the Maryland case relied upon "paternity by estoppel". Here's a position paper on it from Michigan: Senate Bill 557, Revocation of Paternity Act.
    – jww
    Sep 20, 2018 at 21:24
  • @jww, "A blue-eyed baby was born to a couple with a man without blue eyes (genetically impossible)" Not true. The gene for blue eyes is recessive, meaning that if you inherit blue and brown you will express brown, but two parents, each with brown eyes and a recessive gene for blue, could each pass along their blue gene, resulting in a blue eyed child. At least that's what my wife told me when she birthed our blue eyed daughter... ;) Nov 21, 2023 at 22:46

1 Answer 1


Both parents are legally responsible for the financial costs of raising a child. If you don’t have day-to-day care of the child, you may have to pay child maintenance to your partner or she may apply for maintenance and name you as the parent who has to pay maintenance. You are allowed to deny that you are the father of the child and if she wishes to pursue it further, you both may be asked to take a DNA test in order to prove or disprove that you are the father. You cannot force her to do this. It must be voluntary on both sides.

If you're just looking to force her to have a DNA test based on the morality of raising a child then whilst I admire your attitude, unfortunately this is not something you can force her to do.

For more information on this matter, head over to this article on the citizens advice website. I hope this helps

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    Thanks. Based on that page you linked it seems as though it's likely any refusal on her part will be overturned and will have to have a DNA test carried out to prove paternity either way in the interests of the child.
    – John Bell
    Jun 12, 2018 at 12:24
  • @jww This is a UK-related question. Your comments do not apply within British law
    – Horkrine
    Sep 21, 2018 at 8:19

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