Who’s Your Daddy?
Am I the child’s parent?
Strange as it may seem, we do not see too many women through our door asking how they would know or be able to prove if they are a child’s legal and biological parent. We do however experience the question raised quite often by men.
In our experience as Family Lawyers in Brisbane that men are approached by current or former partners to request they contribute financially to raise their child. Some men wish to prove a lack of paternity to negate their obligations in this regard.
Other fathers will seek to prove paternity of a child to establish a right to spend time with that child. Many men in these situations come to us in a bid to understand their legal rights and the rights of a person seeking to prove paternity.
A mother can request a male she suspects to be the father of a child undertake a simple DNA test from a certified laboratory for such testing to establish parentage. If the father accepts it is often accepted that the mother pay for such a test.
Should the man suspected of being the father refuse to take a DNA test, then the mother will be required to make an application to the Family Court of Australia to seek a declaration of paternity.
A Court may order that a male whom it suspects could be the father of a child take a DNA test.
Enforcement of the order (forcing the male to undertake the test under threat of penalty) is not possible, however the fact that the male chose not to undertake a DNA test will be considered when deciding whether to make a declaration that the male is or is not the father of a particular child. In such circumstances the Court may make a declaration that the male is the father of the child and he may then be liable to pay child support. The only way to prove otherwise is for the father to undertake DNA testing and apply to the Court for a declaration that he is not the father of the child. So a suspected father may chance his luck however it is likely that he will not escape his obligations and after further time and cost will be proven liable to support their child.