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When a couple separate and they have a child or children together, a question may arise whether the father is the biological father.
This might just be for peace of mind, or it may be required to for legal issues, such as:
- Providing to the Family Court in support of your claim for Orders to spend time with the child (if paternity is questioned);
- Providing to the Child Support Agency for child support payments, or to cease child support payments;
- Changes to birth certificates;
- Surrogacy; or Estate matters.
If a parent seeks to confirm if the father is the biological father for their peace of mind only, that parent can apply to an agency offering paternity testing by simply completing the Application for that agency and paying the fee.
The test is usually mailed to the mother/father and their samples can be collected at home. The sample is a mouth swab from that parent and the child.
Some agencies might, however, require the consent of the parent who is the legal guardian of the child, to obtain the child’s sample, and in this event, you may need to seek the consent of the legal guardian or apply for Orders in the Federal Circuit Court.
This test does not provide results that are as accurate as having both parents’ DNA swabs, and it cannot be used for legal matters, however, it is an option available if a parent requires that peace of mind that they are, in fact, the parent of that child.
There has been a recent case involving a father paying many years of child support to the mother, and after he and his new partner attempted to conceive a child, he discovered that he was incapable of conceiving children. This resulted in the mother being Ordered to pay back a sum of over $3,000 to the non-biological father.
On the other hand, a mother might wish to claim child support from the father who either refuses to pay, or refutes a claim that he is the biological father.
In these scenarios, legal testing is required which involves having the consent of both parents. The procedure involves making an Application and paying a fee. A sealed DNA kit will be mailed to each parent, and you are to both arrange to attend your doctor or a Pathologist to provide a blood test of both parents and the child. After the sample is received from the agency, the results are usually available within 5 to 10 working days.
Identification for both parties, such as a passport, is required prior to the DNA kit being sent to each parent.
If the other parent refuses to provide their consent, you will need to apply to the Federal Circuit Court for Orders for Paternity Testing. The Application to the Court will require the filing of an Affidavit and an appearance before the Court to seek the leave of the Court for an Order for testing.
Our family law team are happy to assist you, whether it be for peace of mind, for legal matters and applying to the Court, or negotiating with the other parent.