Issues of paternity often arise following separation. 

Presumptions of paternity are set out in the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) in the following circumstances:

  • If a child is born to a woman while she is married, then child is presumed to be a child of the woman and her husband.
  • If the married couple separate, then resume cohabitation, then separate again within three months, and a child is born within 44 weeks of the end of cohabitation, then child is presumed to be a child of the woman and her husband.
  • If a child is born to a woman and at any time during the period not earlier than 44 weeks and ending not less than 20 weeks before the birth, she cohabited with a man, the child is presumed to be a child of that man.
  • If a person’s name is entered on the child’s birth certificate, then they are presumed to be the parent of that child.
  • If a court finds that a person is the parent of a child.

If a presumption applies, then the mother can approach the child support agency and rely on one of the presumptions for the payment of child support to be obtained from the presumed father.

In circumstances where a father is assessed to pay child support on the basis of a presumption that applies under the Family Law Act, the parent disputing paternity can apply to the Court to have the issue resolved.

If you are concerned that a child may or may not be your biological child you are otherwise able to seek an order through the Courts for paternity testing.

The Court has the power to make orders in relation to the child, the mother, or any other person who may assist in determining the parentage of the child.   Usually the Court will order a person to submit to a medical procedure, or provide information regarding a person’s medical history. Once the results of the paternity test are known, the Court can then make a declaration as to the parentage of the child, and make any consequential orders that follow, which may include parenting orders.

Our team can assist you in obtaining a paternity test, and in relation to child support or parenting arrangements which may follow from such a test being undertaken.