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How To Get A Court Ordered Paternity Test In Australia?

court ordered paternity test | Justice Family Lawyers

To obtain a court-ordered paternity test in Australia, one must apply to the family court presenting a compelling reason, such as disputes over child support, custody, or inheritance.

Once approved, participants must use an accredited laboratory for the DNA test.

If a party refuses, the court might make assumptions against their interest based on available evidence. It’s advisable to consult with a family lawyer that can represent you in court for specific guidance and the detailed process.

What is a Court-Ordered Paternity Test?

A court-ordered paternity test in Australia is a DNA test mandated by a legal entity to determine the biological parentage of a child. It’s used in legal disputes such as child support, custody, or inheritance and is recognized by Australian courts as evidence of parent-child relationships.

Who Can Request a Court-Ordered Paternity Test in Australia?

The following individuals or entities can request a court-ordered paternity test:

  • Alleged Father: A man who believes he is or may be questioned as the biological father of a child can request a test to confirm or refute paternity according to law. It is part of the father’s rights after separation.
  • Mother: The child’s mother can request a test to establish the identity of the child’s biological father, especially in cases involving child support or custody.
  • Legal Guardian: If the child is under the care of someone other than the biological parents, the guardian can request a paternity test on behalf of the child for legal or welfare reasons.
  • Child: Though typically represented by an adult or legal counsel, an older child or adult offspring may also request a paternity test to determine their biological father.
  • State or Territory Agencies: Certain government agencies, especially those involved in child welfare or support, may request a paternity test to determine parental responsibilities or entitlements.
  • Legal Representatives: Lawyers or legal entities representing parties involved in a dispute may request a test on their client’s behalf.
  • Courts: In some cases, a court may order a paternity test of its own volition, especially if determining paternity is crucial to resolving a legal matter.

What Happens If a Party Refuses the Test?

The court may make negative or adverse assumptions against the refusing party based on available evidence. For instance, if an alleged father refuses the test, the court might assume he is the child’s biological father, especially in child support disputes.

A refusal can result in court penalties or sanctions. In some cases, if a person does not comply with the order, they may be found in contempt of court.

A refusal can influence a judge’s decision in matters related to child custody, visitation rights, or any other issues where paternity is relevant.

Other forms of evidence (e.g., testimonies, historical records, etc.) will hold more weight in court proceedings without a paternity test. However, these might not be as conclusive as DNA evidence.

The requesting party may take additional legal steps or initiate other proceedings in light of the refusal, potentially complicating the legal situation.

Mother’s Refusal

A mother has the initial right to refuse paternity testing if the request is made outside of a formal legal process.

Without a court order, no legal obligation exists to provide samples for the mother or child.

But, if the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia orders a paternity test, refusal to comply can have significant consequences.

Courts prioritize the child’s best interests, which include the right to know their biological parentage.

Refusal to participate in court-ordered testing may lead the court to draw inferences that the alleged father is indeed the biological parent.

This could result in rulings related to child support, custody, or other matters.

Are the Results of the Test Legally Binding?

Yes, the results of a court-ordered paternity test in Australia are legally binding. This means:

  1. Admissibility in Court: The results can be used as evidence in legal proceedings, such as child support, custody disputes, inheritance claims, etc.
  2. Establishment of Parental Rights and Responsibilities: Based on the results, the court can determine parental responsibilities, visitation rights, and financial obligations.
  3. Amendments to Official Documents: Positive results can lead to changes in official records, such as adding the father’s name to a birth certificate.
  4. Precedence Over Other Evidence: DNA paternity test results are highly accurate and will generally take precedence over other types of evidence in disputes related to parentage.
  5. Binding Nature: Once the court accepts the results, parties involved are bound by the implications of the results, barring situations where errors or fraud are discovered later.

However, while the results are legally binding, they can be challenged in court under specific circumstances, such as if there’s evidence of test tampering lab errors or if new relevant information comes to light.

Also read: How to Speed Up Family Law Cases

Rights of the Child

During the process of a court-ordered paternity test in Australia, the child’s rights are of paramount concern.

Australian family law operates on the principle that decisions should be made in the “best interests of the child.” The child’s welfare is the primary concern, whether it’s regarding custody, access, or financial support.

The child’s personal and genetic information is kept confidential. Test results and related information are only disclosed to relevant parties and the court.

In some situations, especially where the process may be distressing for the child, counselling or psychological support services are made available.

For older children, their views and feelings about the paternity test might be considered, depending on their age and understanding.

If there’s any indication that the paternity testing process might result in harm or undue distress to the child, the court can make orders or decisions to safeguard the child. This could include supervised testing or other protective measures.

In certain cases, a child representative might be appointed to ensure the child’s rights and interests are upheld during legal proceedings.

To minimize psychological impact, the court will ensure that a paternity test is necessary before ordering one. The aim is to protect the child from unnecessary intrusion or distress.

It’s worth noting that while the legal mechanisms aim to protect the child, the emotional and psychological implications can vary. Therefore, it’s essential for all parties involved to approach the situation sensitively, considering the child’s feelings and well-being at every stage.

Also read: Contempt of Court Family Law

How To Get A Court Ordered Paternity Test In Australia?

It can take a lot of work to figure out how to do DNA tests concerning family law. At Justice Family Lawyers, we give you expert advice and make sure you know what’s going on at all times. Don’t go through this journey alone; work with professionals who will put your needs and your child’s needs first.

55 thoughts on “How To Get A Court Ordered Paternity Test In Australia?”

    1. I’m in another country and my father in Australia is denying the affair he had with my mum which resulted in me being conceived. I did an ancestry DNA test and the results came back positive, linking me to my dad’s family tree/history but he’s still in denial. Also, my mum and I never received child support from him since day one and now I’m 26 years old. Please help me as I am confused how to go about getting him to help me with my citizenship application.

      1. Hi, you can attempt to contact your father and request that he undergo a DNA test, explaining your reasons for seeking the test. However, compliance with this request will ultimately be at his discretion as the family court will not make orders for a paternity test when the child is over eighteen years of age.

        1. Your friend can apply to the court for orders to request a paternity test. For detailed assistance on this process, please advise your friend to contact our office directly.

  1. can a grandparent request a DNA test for their deceased son when they suspect he is not the biological father of the child, and can the result be used to wave a CSA debt if it is proved he is not the biological father

      1. CSA do not wipe a child support debt in WA for a deceased man
        wife deceived him he is not the biological father can grandparents request dna proof

  2. can a grandparent request DNA proof of paternity for their deceased son when they suspect he is not the biological father of the child, and can they apply for a section 107 form for CSA to cancel a child support debt

    1. Hi Allen. You can file an Initiating Application with the Family Court. The form is on the Family Court website. In the application, you will seek orders for a paternity test to be performed.

  3. Hi,
    My biological father is an Australian citizen but I’m not. I was born and still live in another country. I’m now an adult.
    My father does not cooperate in doing a dna test. Is it in any way possible for me to get a court ordered dna test for him?
    (This has been a life long question for me.)
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Martin. The family court will only order DNA tests for children who are under the age of 18. If you are over the age of 18, the court no longer has jurisdiction to do this.

      1. So is there no way to get a parent to do a dna test once we are over 18? I am stuff with this situation too. My father wont have anything to do with me but i want to prove to myself and his family that i am his daughter.

  4. My child is under child protection and in foster care
    I have doubts if the child is mine considering my partner background at the time and having second thoughts..
    Even though the child is with DFFH child protection do I need to obtain a court ordered DNA

  5. My husband needs to get a court ordered dna test for a child from a previous relationship. The mother left him off the birth certificate – but tells everyone he is the father but has alienated the child from him since he was an infant so we have no rights to him.

    How do we obtain a court ordered dna test for my husband and his son (as we have 0 access to him).

    1. Hi there, you can commence proceedings in court by filing an Initiating Application. You will need to file a supporting affidavit explaining what has happened, as well as a genuine steps certificate to show that you tried to negotiate something with the mother but were not able to. Has he tried going to mediation?

      1. Hi. Can the court order my biological father to do a DNA test. I am 51 and only just found out that I am adopted. I have done a dna test and connected to his grandson but he still refuses to acknowledge me. I am only after medical history for my and my daughter and grandson.

  6. If a woman I know in another country claims her child is mine, can she get the Australian Family Court to support her? She has never come to Australia and has no ties to Australia. Will the Family Court order a paternity test without good evidence?

    1. Hi, yes a court will order a paternity test if they think it is going to be in the best interests of the child. If you are present in Australia, the courts will be able to order you to do the paternity test.

      1. If the paternity test shows I am the father, then I will be required to support the child at an Australian standard of living until it is 18, is that right?

          1. Hi
            Im 60 and my daughter is 30
            Can i get a dna test to confirm im am her father as im doing my will

          2. Hi, you can ask your daughter if she consents to getting a DNA test, however whether or not she complies is up to her. The family court will only order DNA tests for children who are under the age of 18. If you are over the age of 18, the court no longer has jurisdiction to do this.

  7. Hi the biological father of my 2 children who were born in Cambodia left the country and returned to Australia, he communicates with them as their father. but refused to add his name on the birth certificate, my children and i are now living in Australia. They are now ages 11 and 12 can I request a DNA test to prove that he is the father and ask for child support.

    1. Hi, yes this is a good example of when you can ask for a DNA test, you would be successful and if the DNA is his then he can be added to the birth certificate.

  8. Hello, I was told by an ex partner she got pregnant and the child is supposedly mine.
    If it is mine, I would like shared custody over him, but she cut off all communications and alienates me.
    Can I get a court order to get a DNA test done?
    And what documents would I need to supply?


    1. Hi, if she does not voluntarily assist with the DNA test, you can obtain a court order to do this.

      You will need to file an initating application with a supporting affidavit at the court.

  9. Hi, I had a one night stand with a man of whom i know, i told him he maybe the father and now he has said he wants to get a court order paternity test and stop me from leaving the hospital and naming baby and wants full custody.? I am leaving to return interstate we do not communicate as he said his lawyer will contact me but has not. do I have to stay in QLD until i have baby and wait for him.? to prove he is or not the father.?

  10. Hi there,

    Can I organise a DNA test somehow on my behalf of my 19 year old son. His late Father passed away when he was two and as our relationship was brief, I did not have the foresight to include his name on the birth certificate at the time as we were estranged. My Son was born on foreign territory but we both returned on Australian soil when he was 8 months old and have lived here since. I attempted to contact my late ex partners children from a previous marriage in a different state but they were unaware of his passing and had no relationship with him since the parents divorced when they were young. I tried contacting the Australian Army to request my late ex partners service records for our son but was told that the Army doesn’t recognise de=facto relationships and to come back when my son is 18/19 as he would be next of kin….but I have to first prove that his the Father. I was thinking of contacting the public hospital where he was admitted before his death to see if I could somehow request /inquire if they still hold or have held any blood tests from him. I am beside myself. Thanks in advance

  11. My partner has a child to another woman and she refuses to do a paternity test. She wants 100% custody of the child which she already has and denies him seeing his “daughter” He said if she wants 100% custody then he is to be removed off the birth certificate but is in a relationship with another man and has the daughter calling her new partner dad. Does my partner have any grounds for a court ordered paternity test?

    1. Hi, your partner may have grounds to apply for a court-ordered paternity test. For detailed advice on his parenting matter it is recommended that he reach out to our firm directly to schedule a consultation with a family lawyer.

  12. Hi, my husband will be requesting a dna test for one of his children. They reside in another state. How do we ensure the correct child is tested if we cannot be there. I don’t trust that she will take the right child in.

    1. Hi, choosing an accredited and authorized DNA testing facility recognised by the legal system will ensure that proper procedures are followed. You may wish to contact the facility beforehand to voice your concerns and ensure that identity documents are presented at the appointment. In some cases, involving a neutral third party may also help ensure the correct child is tested.

  13. Hello, I have a child with an Australian citizen and my child is 5 years old. The father is denying to cooperate with me for DNA test and I have his messages to prove that it is his child. I am living in another country with my son. Can I ask DNA test here in US or does Australian court accept the DNA test from US.? I am not US citizen but a student in US.

    1. Generally, Australian courts accept DNA test results conducted overseas, provided they meet certain criteria. It’s important to ensure that the testing facility is accredited and follows recognised standards. Given your situation, it is advisable to first consult with an Australian family lawyer regarding acceptable testing facilities and procedures. They can provide guidance on the specific requirements and procedures for obtaining a DNA test and pursuing legal action to establish paternity in Australia.

  14. Hi,
    After 54yrs, I have recently met my biological father after DNA matching to his extended family via Ancestry. com.
    He is now refuting paternity.
    What are my legal rights with this??
    And should I resolve this via a civil suit against him??

    1. Hi Jim, there are certain legal constraints when dealing with a situation where a parent refuses a paternity test for an adult child. Generally, the Family Court has the authority to order paternity testing primarily when the child in question is under the age of 18. In the absence of a court order, a person cannot be legally forced to undertake a paternity test.

    1. You can conduct a DNA test to determine if you and a potential sibling are related, even after the father has passed away. This involves comparing your DNA with that of the supposed sibling to identify a genetic match indicative of a shared paternal link. However, you’ll need the consent of the potential sibling for the DNA test and should reach out to a DNA testing facility to arrange the testing. The testing facility will be able to advise as to the accuracy or limitations of proving a paternal link.

  15. My son is 6 and I’ve been trying to convince my ex partner to do a dna test but keeps ignoring the question and blocks me for months then unblocks me like nothing happened, how can I get a court order to make him do it?

    1. Hi Heidi, to obtain a court order mandating a paternity test, you will need to file an initiating application with the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. Our firm is experienced with this process, so please feel free to contact us directly for assistance.

  16. Hi how are u my partner it’s Australian we registered the baby with his last name and now he say my son no it’s his baby . How long can take for one court orden paternity test ?

    1. The timeframe for obtaining a court-ordered paternity test and results typically takes a few months. If your partner agrees to a paternity test voluntarily, the process can be completed significantly quicker.

  17. Mum of Newborn

    I live in Puerto Rico and the father of my child is Australian but does not want to agree to paternity test. How can I require that he take paternity test and is on registration documents/birth certificate for the child if I live in a different country? Is there an international process?

    1. To require the father of your child to take a paternity test and be listed on the birth certificate, you should start legal proceedings in Puerto Rico. The courts there can issue a paternity order, which may be recognised and enforced in Australia through international agreements. It’s best to consult with a family law attorney who has experience in handling international cases to guide you through the process.

  18. Hello, I was married until my son was suddenly taken away and withheld from me as a baby and kept overseas (without his mum) many times, for around half his life. His mum says she regretted him. I had a legal aid lawyer help me make applications to the court and he was finally brought back. When I finally saw him again his looks had really changed and I noticed he had really started to resemble a family friend in looks, mannerisms and personality and there is no father/son warmth. For this and a few other reasons including knowing his mum had been fraudulent in the past, me and my family have started to question his paternity. When I raised this with my legal aid lawyer he became angry and would not speak about it and suddenly withdrew representing me so I have no support now. Because we have already been in Court to bring him back to Australia and to see him again, have I lost the chance to apply for a DNA test?

    1. You still have the opportunity to request a DNA test to determine paternity, even if you have previously been to court. You can file an application with the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court to seek court orders for this test. Seek legal advice from a family lawyer to help guide you through this process.

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