Child Support and Parentage Testing
When there is a dispute about parentage relating to a child and the payment of child support, a declaration from the Court can be sought.
Under section 116 of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989, the Court has the ability to declare:
a) Whether a person should be assessed as a person payable of child support because they are a parent of the child; AND
b) Whether a person should not assessed as a person payable of child support because they are not a parent of the child.
When there is a dispute about parentage relating to a child, it is common for parentage testing to be undertaken as a first step before a determination is made as to whether a person should be assessed to pay child support for the child.
Are all parentage tests the same?
Not all parentage tests are the same and most do not require invasive action, such as blood testing, to determine parentage.
Should parentage testing be sought for ‘peace of mind’ purposes, self- testing kits can be readily obtained. This type of testing can be performed at home and does not require the mother’s participation.
However, should you seek to rely upon a parentage test for legal purposes, such as for Child Support or court proceedings, a NATA Accredited test will be required to be completed. Both parties and the child are required to participate in this testing, with samples taken by a clinician to ensure the ‘chain of custody’ is maintained.
What happens if a person refuses to participate in the testing?
A person cannot be compelled to participate in parentage testing without an order of the Court.
However, if an order is made for a person to participate in parentage testing and they fail or refuse to participate, the Court can make an adverse finding against that person. Cost orders can also be sought.
If a person is declared a person to pay child support by the Court, what happens next?
Once a person is declared a person payable of Child Support, the Order can be provided to the Child Support Agency. The Child Support Agency will then complete an assessment of the person and will calculate the amount of child support payable by them.
The Child Support Agency will then commence collection of child support.
Must court proceedings be commenced for DNA testing to occur?
Court proceedings do not need to be commenced for DNA testing to be undertaken if both parties are willing to participate. Both parties can approach a DNA testing centre and make arrangements for testing to be completed.