The Archers

Rob’s Paternity Problem – The Archers

La la la la la la laaa, la la la la laaa la.

That’s right, Suds Law have gone up market and ventured into the goings on in Ambridge.  The Archers is a national institution and where soap meets legal issues, you can bet your prize heifer our legal eagle Rebecca Finnigan won’t be far behind.

Over recent weeks we’ve heard an increasingly defensive Rob reacting angrily to receiving correspondence from his estranged wife seeking maintenance for purported son Ethan.  Rob denies paternity and says he won’t be paying maintenance for little Ethan who he tenderly refers to as ‘your little bastard’.

Is The Archers on target with the portrayal of this storyline, or are they barking up the wrong tree?

Skipping merrily back to the office following maternity leave and humming the theme tune as she goes, we catch up with Rebecca Finnigan, family solicitor and member of the Law Society’s Advanced Family Panel.

The storyline gets the Suds Law thumbs up!

The way the storyline has been portrayed has been fairly accurate.  We have heard Rob reacting angrily to receiving correspondence from the Child Maintenance Service notifying him of the claim made against him.  When he failed to produce any evidence that he was not Ethan’s father, he heard again from the Agency notifying him that a maintenance assessment would’ve been made against him.  Most recently he has told his former wife that he would not be taking a DNA test and would not be paying maintenance.

So far so good.

The Child Maintenance Service can go ahead and carryout maintenance assessments even without the cooperation of the paying parent.  They can trace and assess an individual through their national insurance number and tax records.

So unfortunately Rob’s protestation will not take him out of the frame for maintaining the child.

The correct course of action, which he would know about if he had taken advice on the issue, is for him to put his money where his mouth is and undergo a paternity test.  If the test results established he was not the father of the child, then he would be absolved of responsibility of maintaining the child.

In fact pursuing to a DNA test is something of a no-brainier for any would be father who is convinced he is not the father.  If the test confirms he is in fact not the father, the cost of the test will even be refunded to him.

If you need advice about obtaining paternity testing or any other family law issue details of specialist solicitors can be found through Resolution or The Law Society. Our expert team at Canter Levin and Berg are as ever happy to oblige.

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Rebecca Finnigan

Rebecca is an accredited member of the Law Society’s Advanced Family Law Panel. She is also a member of the solicitor’s family law association Resolution.

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