There are cases where parentage is an issue. The Family Court has the jurisdiction to make orders requiring the parties (and the child) to undergo DNA testing.
DNA testing is usually sought for one of the following reasons:
- The mother has applied for child support, but the father is not on the birth certificate and doesn’t agree he is the father; or
- The mother won’t agree to include the father’s name on the child’s birth certificate; or
- There are parenting proceedings and someone raises doubts about the child’s parentage.
In some cases, there are “presumptions” about the parentage of a child. For example, if you are in one of the following scenarios, you are “presumed” to be a parent of the child for family law purposes:
- The parties were married when the child was born; or
- The parties were married, then separated but resumed living together within 44 weeks of the child’s birth; or
- The parties lived together between 44 weeks and 20 weeks before the child was born; or
- The parties are registered on the child’s birth certificate; or
- The father signs a document acknowledging he is the father.
If the court makes orders for DNA testing, the court can then make a declaration of parentage. If a person refuses to comply with an order for a DNA test, the court is able to draw an inference that they are refusing to take the test because it would show they are the parent of the child.
This evidence can be given to the Child Support Agency (for child support purposes) or Births, Deaths and Marriages (to be included or removed from a birth certificate). The clarification of parentage can also have an impact on court proceedings regarding parenting matters.
If you have concerns about the parentage of your child or you believe you are a parent of a child but have not been registered on the birth certificate, you have options available to you.
If you or someone you know needs expert advice from our specialist team of family lawyers, phone us on 1800 600 664 or complete the contact form on this page.
At Taylor & Scott “We Care For You”.