MISATTRIBUTED PATERNITY Nel v Jonker (WCHC) unreported case number A653/2009 dated 2001-02-17
Keywords:misattributed paternity, financial aspects, reclaiming maintenance amounts
The purpose of this note is to set out the problem of misattributed paternity and to determine the rights of the parties to such a dispute in South Africa, in the light of the current legal view of paternity. Although the case touched on these questions, the court was unable to consider all the issues and make specific findings as a result of the poorly drafted pleadings and the lack of evidence before it. This note therefore seeks to provide an introductory overview of the concept of misattributed paternity, in particular focusing on
the financial aspects of this problem and, specifically, the possibility of reclaiming any maintenance amounts already paid towards the upkeep of the child. The question will further be addressed: If there is a claim, from whom can be claimed and what would the basis of such a claim be? Although this note does not engage in a detailed survey of relevant comparative authority, references to selected arguments used in foreign cases are included to assess the possible applicability of these arguments in similar disputes in South Africa.
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