DNA Testing & Paternity
Occasionally, questions arise regarding the paternity of a child, which can be conclusively determined through DNA testing. Before ordering DNA testing, other relevant factors are taken into consideration.
If a child is born to a married woman during the marriage, the law presumes the child to be the biological child of the woman and her husband. Similarly, if a child is born to a woman in a de facto relationship lasting between 6 and 10 months, the law presumes the child to be a product of that relationship. Additionally, if you are named as a parent on the child’s birth certificate or have acknowledged your parenthood in any document, you are presumed to be the child’s parent. If any of these circumstances apply to your situation and you wish to challenge these presumptions, you will need to provide evidence to prove otherwise.
In legal proceedings where the parentage of a child is in question, the Court has the authority to order a parentage testing procedure, commonly known as a DNA test, to be conducted on the child, the mother, and any other relevant individuals to determine the child’s parentage.
For unmarried parents or those not involved in de facto relationships, where parentage is disputed, it becomes necessary to establish parentage through testing. In situations where the mother is uncertain about the child’s father, the Court can order parentage testing procedures to be carried out on multiple suspected fathers until the biological father is determined.
Establishing parentage is typically a requirement before the Child Support Agency can make assessments for child support. However, if you have acknowledged paternity through documents like a birth certificate or hospital records, you may be assessed and ordered to pay child support based on that acknowledgment. Parentage is also generally necessary before a Court can issue orders regarding parenting time, although there are circumstances where third parties, such as grandparents, can be granted time with the child.
If you have doubts about being the biological parent of a child for whom you are paying child support, you can initiate proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Present evidence supporting your suspicions and request the Court to order DNA testing, either through oral swab or hair follicle samples, for you and the mother. If the DNA test proves that you are not the child’s biological father and you have already paid child support, the Court can declare that you should no longer be assessed for support payments, and you can seek to recover the money you have paid.
If you are facing child support issues or wish to gain a better understanding of your child support obligations, we invite you to schedule an appointment with our family law team at The Legal House for a no-obligation consultation. Our Parenting Agreements Lawyers in Qld will provide you with the necessary guidance and support.