What is a presumption of paternity and how can parentage be proven or disproven?

It is not uncommon for there to be uncertainty or disagreement of paternity or parentage. This can be important from a legal perspective when financial compensation is provided in the instance of child support.

Parentage, which is determining who are the parents of a child, may also be an issue raised in Family Court matters where a dispute arises around who a child lives with or spends time with as a result of the breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship.

Presumption of paternity

Father and child on beach wondering about presumption of paternity

So, what is a presumption of paternity or parentage? Presumption of parentage is when a court or other agency accepts or ‘presumes’ in accordance with legislation that a person is a parent of a child without any evidence, usually because of a marriage of pre-existing relationship.

There are several presumptions that the court will take into consideration when parentage is an issue, such as when a man was married to the mother and the child was born during their marriage, within 44 weeks of the marriage ending by death or annulment, and so on. For more information on these conditions, please contact us for advice.

How can parentage be confirmed

If there is a dispute, evidence may have to be employed in order to prove or disprove parentage. This is usually provided through DNA testing, where a sample from each of the parents and the child is provided and then assessed. It’s important to obtain legal advice if there are disputes around this testing or if a person refuses to participate.

If you delay applying, this can have serious or detrimental consequences for your case, so do not hesitate to get the legal help you need to give yourself the best chance at your desired outcome.  There are also strict legal requirements surrounding the collection and testing of DNA, so it is best to get expert legal advice about this to ensure that the Court will accept the results of any DNA test.

Results of parentage

Whilst a finding that someone is not a parent (usually the father) of a child will most likely mean that child support is not payable in the future, it can be very difficult to get an order for any past payments of child support to be refunded.  It is therefore advisable that if you have any doubts about paternity and parentage, that this is investigated as soon as possible.  You may also be able to get a stay of any child support payments until parentage has been determined.

At Australian Family Lawyers, we have the experience and expertise to assist you with any queries about parentage, child support and all family law matters.

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