Doubts about paternity often arise after parents separate. One reason for these queries to be raised is where the parents of a child separate and the father is assessed to pay child support. If the person does not believe they should be liable to pay child support because they did not believe they are the father, they must provide the child support agency with evidence disproving paternity. The Child Support Agency will accept evidence from:
- The results of a legal paternity test; and
- A declaration of parentage from the court.
Paternity testing of a child can be undertaken with the consent of the mother. Where the mother does not agree to the test, an application can be made to the court for a parentage testing order.
The person who wishes to obtain an order for parentage testing will need to show to the court that there is an honest and reasonable doubt as to paternity. This means that there needs to be something more than mere suspicion however it is not necessary to provide evidence that another person in particular is the father of the child.
Not all tests are the same. There are two different types of paternity tests that can be undertaken. Some tests are completed in a way which cannot be used in court proceedings regarding the issue of parentage. Testing which can be used as evidence in court must comply with strict requirements concerning sample collection, delivery and laboratory testing.
Applications to the court and parentage testing can take time. In the interim if there is a child support assessment in place the debt will continue to accrue unless you make an application to the court to stop the payments until the outcome of the testing is known, this is known as a Stay Application. You should obtain legal advice if wanting further information about a Stay Application.
It is important to obtain legal advice to discuss your situation before making any allegations, as these allegations often have a detrimental impact on relationships within the family.
You can contact our office to make an appointment with one of our solicitors to receive advice on your situation on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form.