Issues of Paternity in Family Law

It is important to be aware that absent of a paternity test, the following presumptions in terms of who is a child’s Father apply: –

  1. If they are named on the birth certificate;
  2. If a statutory declaration has been signed outlining parentage;
  3. If there is a Court order declaring that they are the parent of the child;
  4. If the parties were married at the time the child was conceived; or
  5. If the parties cohabitated between 44 and 20 weeks prior to the birth of the child.

If any of the above assumptions apply and there is a dispute regarding paternity, then testing will likely be the only option to prove or disprove any claims otherwise. Even if both parties are in agreement to undertake paternity testing, it is important that any tests taken comply with the standards required by the Court.

The Family Law Act provides the Federal Circuit and Family Court with the jurisdiction to make orders for paternity testing to determine the parentage of a child in a number of circumstances, such as: –

  1. A dispute as to who is the Father of the child;
  2. To obtain child support from a specific person; or
  3. To dispute an application for child support sought against a specific person.

The Court can order a paternity test, even if one party does not consent to this being undertaken as there are significant legal ramifications on the outcome of the same.

Paternity testing is a complex area of family law and it is vital that you obtain expert advice before any action is taken and in particular, any Court application is made.

If there are doubts in relation to your child’s paternity or any child support issues, please contact our office on (02) 4655 4224 to speak to one of our experienced solicitors to assist you in resolving your matter.

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