Legal Paternity Tests
If there’s a disagreement about who your child’s father is you can take a paternity test. A paternity test involves taking a sample of DNA from both your child and the possible father to see if they’re a match. This is the most reliable way to determine who the father of a child is. These samples are usually not invasive and involve a mouth swab.
There are several different ways that you can do a paternity test but only some of them will be allowed as evidence in Court. A legal paternity test is one that meets the requirements of the Family Law Act. You may be required to give several DNA samples and each of these are tracked carefully so that you can be assured of the integrity of the results. The test must be taken at a laboratory that is accredited under the Family Law Act. A list of accredited laboratories can be found here.
You can either choose to take a legal paternity test voluntarily or a Court may order one. A Court can order a mother, father, child or someone else to take a legal paternity test. While an adult can refuse to take the paternity test themselves or refuse to give consent for the child the have the test, the Court is legally able to take your refusal into account when determining who the child’s parent it.
For example, if a mother is claiming child support payments from you but you believe you’re not the father, the Court may order you to take a legal paternity test. If you refuse to take the test, the Court may see your refusal as an acknowledgement that you’re the child’s father and order you to pay child support anyway.
Even if the DNA test says that you’re not the child’s father, this will not be enough evidence for the Child Support Agency or the Department of Human Services. They will also need to see a Court declaration that says you are not the child’s father.