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Bridget Jones's Diary was released in 2001 followed by Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason in 2004. 12 years later the hotly anticipated Bridget Jones's Baby is on our big screen's.
In the latest film, Bridget is pregnant and the father is either Human Rights Barrister Mark Darcy (remember the reindeer jumper from the first film?) or, Jack Quant, a billionaire that Bridget had a one night stand with. Bridget doesn't know who is the father to her child, a situation which many women may find themselves in. So what are the options for Bridget and other women alike?
If, following birth, a child has no legally declared father it is possible for the mother or potential father to apply to the Court for a Declaration of Parentage.
In Bridget's case, if she were to refuse a DNA test being completed on her baby then, either Mark or Jack could apply to the Court requiring a DNA test to be completed. In these circumstances, the Court are likely to grant an Order of this kind as it would be in the child's best interests to know who their father is. The process of giving a DNA sample is simple and just mouth swab is taken. Blood tests are not required so there will be no harm or stress caused to the baby.
It would not possible for the Court to compel a either Mark or Jack to provide a sample for DNA testing. It would therefore be up to Bridget to decide who is more likely to be the father and she could then apply for a Declaration against him. It is not possible to apply against more than one father simultaneously so, Bridget would not be able to apply to the Court in respect of both Mark and Jack, she would have to choose who is more likely to be the father.
When a mother applies to the Court to seek a Declaration of Parentage, if the potential father refuses to undergo DNA testing then, the likelihood is that the Court would make a Declaration of Parentage on this basis thus, allowing the mother to make financial claims against the potential father. An Application to set aside the Declaration could be made by the potential father if he agrees to DNA testing which proves he is not the father to the child.
So, although Bridget finds herself in a predicament in the latest installment of Bridget Jones and her famous diary, there are options available to her from a legal perspective to help her determine the paternity of her child.
Watch out for our blog next week about the possible financial claims that Bridget could make....