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Proof of Paternity via a relative – a success story

Anat Levi
Anat Levi

Proof of paternity, generally required when dealing with the legal parentage of the child, raises many legal difficulties. Usually, a tissue test is required in order to prove paternity when there are doubts concerning the father’s identity. The problem arises in cases where one of the parents is deceased or is out of contact. In such cases, a tissue sample cannot be taken in order to complete the test. In a legal proceeding, recently handled by our office, the court adopted a creative solution by permitting a proof of paternity via a relative. Below, we explain the case and discuss further alternative solutions concerning proof of paternity.

Our legal offices in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv specialize in assisting clients with a variety of issues in family law. The attorneys in our office have extensive and proven experience advising and representing paternity claim proceedings, child support claims, arranging Israeli legal status for family members and more.

Proof of paternity via a relative

A general explanation of paternity claims and the difficulty that arises when the father or the mother is not alive

A paternity claim is a legal proceeding that is handled for the most part by the Family Court, as determined by law. This process is necessary in order to determine the identity of the father when there is doubt. Paternity claims are common in situations where the mother of the children is a foreign citizen, and her children lack Israeli citizenship. In these cases, the Ministry of Internal Affairs will require that the Israeli father is indeed recognized as the children’s parent in question in order to grant them citizenship. This begs the question of what can be done when one of the parents is no longer alive or is unable to be located in order to prove paternity.

The primary problem lies in the fact that the court will generally require that a test be done to prove the family tie. The most common test is the triplicate (father-mother-child) tissue test, although there are other ways to prove paternity without a tissue sample, as explained in an additional article. When the father or mother is not alive, this test cannot be performed. As we will explain below, the Israeli court recently came up with an alternative solution to this problem by testing other family members.

Precedent-setting approval to perform paternity tests via a relative

The Family Court recently heard a case where an Israeli father, represented by our office, applied for proof of paternity. The request was submitted on behalf of his son, a minor, who was residing abroad. The child’s mother had passed away. The proceeding was required in order to bring the child to Israel and arrange his legal status. In most cases of this nature, an instruction can be issued to perform a tissue test outside of Israel, according to relevant regulations. However, given that the mother had died, the tissue test could not be carried out.

The solution that the court formulated was to instruct that a tissue sample be taken from the minor’s aunt, the mother’s sister. The test that is required for this is called a mitochondrial DNA test. The test was intended to prove a blood relation between the aunt and the child. This important and precedent-setting ruling opens the door to further testing using relatives, where it is not possible to use a sample from one of the parents.

Complex cases of proof-of-paternity proceedings

This ruling joins a series of groundbreaking decisions by the Family Court in cases dealing with proof of paternity. As we explained in an additional article, the court recently approved conducting paternity tests during pregnancy. This approval comes despite the fact that it is customary to perform tissue tests after birth. The ruling was based on recognizing the need to protect the child’s best interests. This is because recognition during pregnancy will allow the child to get Israeli citizenship from the moment he or she is born. It is important to know that the courts are currently showing willingness to harness new technology in order to find legal solutions in complex cases dealing with paternity claims.

Contact us – attorneys specializing in family law

In conclusion, proof of paternity using a family member is now officially possible following the court’s ruling. This option is relevant in complex cases of paternity claims, such as cases where there is a death of the mother or the father, or a lack of contact with one of the parents. For additional questions and assistance on this issue, you can contact our office. Our legal offices specialize in family law, and have experience in representing paternity claims in the Family Court.

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