Karlsruhe (Germany) (AFP) - Children in Germany cannot force a man they believe to be their father to take a DNA test to prove their paternity, the country's highest court ruled Tuesday.
The Federal Constitutional Court rejected the appeal of a 65-year-old woman who has tried for decades to prove that a man, now aged 88, is her biological parent.
The right to "know one's lineage is not absolute but must be balanced with conflicting basic rights," the court said in a statement.
It said these included the right of a purported father to resist a paternity test against his will, and the "right of a mother to have her personal privacy respected".
The court said the only time a paternity test can be imposed is within a "legal family", bound by marriage or living together, to ensure that the legal father is also the biological parent.
Throughout her life, the plaintiff's mother had always said the man was her biological father and the man himself registered her birth in 1950 although he never acknowledged being her father.
The daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that the plaintiff's mother married an abusive man after her birth who subjected his wife and stepchild to violence.
The plaintiff held the man she called her biological father responsible for the family's suffering.