Republic of Ireland Law
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1. Essentially, what needs to happen here is that you or your son needs to apply to the Circuit Court for a declaration that your son's father is the lawful father of him. This is to ensure that a swab of DNA or a blood test is taken to determine paternity of his father towards your son. It makes no difference that your son's father might be mentally disabled. The court will still order the swab or blood test to be taken so paternity can be determined. The issue of determining paternity does not depend upon your son's father being fully mentally sound or not. Normally, given that your son is over 18, he would apply for the Declaration but there is nothing to prevent you, as mother, from seeking the Declaration. However, you would need to ensure that your son supports you in your application to determine paternity as he would also have to give a swab of DNA or do a blood test as part of the process of determining paternity. However, the fact his father might be mentally disabled is no barrier to determining paternity.
2. I would advise you to see a solicitor to get legal papers issued. Because the boy's father is mentally disabled, he will have to be represented by a Next Friend appointed or have a Committee composed to represent his interests. This is because a person who is mentally disabled lacks the capacity to conduct a legal action on their own behalf. However, this issue of defending himself would only occur if his family decided he wanted to oppose the application. If the boy's father or whoever represents him decide to acquiesce in providing the swab of DNA, none of these issues arise. However, I mention them because you state the family of the boy's father are opposed to the issue being determined. However, ultimately, this is their problem and I would not dwell upon it but get proceedings issued to determine paternity and then see where everyone stands on the issue.
3. Much of the apparent opposition will melt away when you issue legal proceedings as then the law has to be followed and every child is entitled to know who is their lawful parent.
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