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Wed, 26 Apr 2017


We’ve all heard about, or know someone who has experienced a situation where the parent of a child needs to be confirmed. In most cases, where parentage of a child is in doubt, the parties will voluntarily submit their DNA for a parentage test.


However, there are many reasons as to why one would refuse such a test, including the age-old excuse of avoiding payment of child support.


So legally are you entitled to refuse to undertake a DNA Test?


In short, you are under no obligation to partake in a test to determine the parentage of the child, however this is not recommended due to the reasons outlined below.


In cases where the paternity of the child is in question, and the purported father objects to undergoing a parentage test, the mother can rely on section 69W of the Family Law Act (‘the Act’) to make an application to the Court for an order requiring a parentage test.


However, pursuant to the Act, before a Court can make an order for a parentage test, the parentage of the child must be ‘in issue’. This means that there must be evidence that places the parentage of a child in question. An order for parentage testing cannot be made simply to satisfy one parent’s personal doubts concerning a child’s parentage.


Further, the Act gives the Family Court wide powers in that it can order any person whom it believes may assist in determining the parentage of the child to undergo parenting testing. This includes any relative of the child such as siblings and grandparents.


Once an order is made for the mandatory testing of parentage, pursuant to section 69Y of the Act, if the Order is breached and/or the purported father still refuses to undertake the required tests there are no penalties, however the Court may, in such circumstances, draw a positive inference that the refusing party is in fact the father of the child.


Notwithstanding, there are circumstances whereby such an inference will not be made, such as religious reasons for refusal, however legal advice should be sought if this applies to you.


Finally, if a mother is put to unnecessary costs of making an application to the Court, due to an unreasonable refusal to partake in parentage testing, and it is subsequently revealed that the refusing party is the father of the child, the refusing party may be faced with an Order to pay the mother’s legal costs of the application.


If you require any further information as to the Application of seeking a parentage testing order, or your rights in refusing to partake in a parentage test, please contact one of our senior Family Lawyers on 5563 8970.

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