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Court Ordered Paternity Test In Australia

paternity test

A paternity test is a crucial procedure that determines the biological relationship between a parent and a child. It involves the analysis of DNA samples to establish whether an individual is the biological parent of a specific child. In Australia, paternity tests can be conducted for various reasons, and in some cases, they are court ordered.

What Is a Paternity Test?

A paternity test, also known as a DNA test, is a scientific method used to determine if a man is the biological father of a child. This is done by analysing genetic material, specifically DNA, which is unique to each individual.


The process involves collecting samples from the alleged parent, the child. These samples are then sent to a laboratory where they are analysed to identify genetic similarities and differences. Based on the results, it can be determined with a high degree of accuracy whether or not the alleged father is the biological parent.

In accordance with Section 69W of the Family Law Act (1975), a family court can issue a parentage testing order upon receiving an application from a party involved. This order, commonly known as a court-ordered DNA test, is used to establish the biological parentage of a child, particularly in cases where custody or parenting is being contested. The parentage testing order mandates the completion of specific testing procedures.


As per the Family Law Act (1975), there are specific circumstances under which it will be assumed that you are the parent of a child before a DNA test is conducted. These circumstances are outlined in the following sections:


  • Section 69R: If your name appears on the child’s birth certificate.
  • Section 69P: If you were married to the child’s parent at the time of conception.
  • Section 69T: If you have provided a legally binding declaration stating that the child is biologically yours.
  • Section 69S: If the court has issued an order declaring you as the child’s parent.
  • If the individual lived with the child’s other parent at any point between 44 weeks and 20 weeks prior to the child’s birth – as outlined in Section 69Q
  • If the individual has legally adopted the child

As stated in Section 69U of the aforementioned legislation, these assumptions can be disproven based on a preponderance of evidence. Additionally, these assumptions will be overturned if conclusive proof regarding the child’s parentage is provided. In these cases, the assumption of parenthood is made until proven otherwise through a DNA test.


There are specific situations in which a paternity test may be ordered by a court in Australia. These situations typically arise when legal matters necessitate the establishment of paternity. Here are some common scenarios:


Child Support Cases


In cases where child support is being sought, a paternity test may be court ordered to ensure that the alleged father is indeed the biological parent of the child. This is crucial for determining financial responsibilities.


Child support is a prevalent topic that often arises during discussions about parentage. This issue can be approached in two ways:


Firstly, there may be a person who wants to receive child support from another party. In order to do so, they need to establish and confirm the parentage of the child.


Secondly, there may be a party who claims that they should not be responsible for paying child support because they do not believe they are the parent.


In either situation, Services Australia is unable to demand child support from a parent who is unwilling to pay and is not listed on the child’s birth certificate. When it comes to matters of parenting, it is more common to see parties who are seeking to spend time with the child making these types of applications.


Custody and Visitation Disputes


During custody and visitation disputes, the biological relationship between a parent and child may be called into question. In such cases, a court may order a paternity test to clarify the matter.


Adoption and Surrogacy


In cases of adoption or surrogacy, especially when legal issues arise regarding parental rights, a court may order a paternity test to ascertain biological parentage.

The Process of a Court Ordered Parentage Test

  • Court Authorisation: The first step in a court ordered paternity test is obtaining authorisation from the court. This can be initiated by any party involved in the legal proceedings.
  • Sample Collection: Once authorised, samples are collected from the parties. These samples are usually collected using a buccal swab, which is a painless and non-invasive method.
  • Laboratory Analysis: The collected samples are sent to a specialised laboratory for analysis for the DNA test in Australia. In the laboratory, DNA is extracted from the samples and analysed to determine genetic similarities and differences.
  • Results and Legal Documentation: Once the analysis is complete, a formal report is generated, indicating the likelihood of paternity. This report is then submitted to the court as evidence.

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Legal Implications and Considerations

Accuracy and Reliability


Paternity tests conducted by accredited laboratories have a high degree of accuracy, often exceeding 99%. However, it is crucial to ensure that the testing facility is reputable and accredited.


Consent and Privacy


In cases where a paternity test is court ordered, all parties involved are typically required to consent to the testing. This ensures that individuals’ rights to privacy and bodily integrity are respected.


Child’s Best Interests


In all court ordered paternity tests, the best interests of the child are paramount. The results of the test can have significant implications on issues such as custody, visitation rights, and financial support.


A court ordered paternity test in Australia is a critical legal procedure used to determine the biological relationship between a father and a child. It is essential in various legal matters, including child support cases, custody disputes, and adoption proceedings. Understanding the process, legal implications, and considerations involved in court ordered paternity tests is crucial for all parties involved, ensuring that the best interests of the child are prioritised.


In the event that either you or the opposing party are unwilling to undergo parentage testing, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia have the authority to issue an order or facilitate the testing of a child.


To support your application for parentage testing orders, you must provide sufficient evidence. This may be necessary if you are seeking a court order regarding parenting arrangements and the other party disputes your paternity, or if you are seeking a declaration for child support and believe that someone should be obligated to make payments.


If the opposing party continues to refuse parentage testing even after the court has issued orders, their refusal can be taken into consideration when reaching a conclusion. The process and requirements for testing can be complex, so it is advisable to seek advice from us to better understand your options.


If you require legal advice from leading from our leading divorce lawyers in Sydney, contact Lyons Law Group. We can provide you with free legal advice for up to 15 minutes over the phone, and review your case.

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