The paternity of the child may be established through a DNA test.
In order to be entitled to child maintenance, the paternity of the child must first be established. The paternity of the child may be established through the following circumstances:
- the name of the father appears on the child’s birth certificate;
- the father was married to the mother at the time the child was born;
- the father has made a sworn statutory declaration that he is the father of the child;
- a court order;
- the father and the mother were living together at any time between 44 weeks and 20 weeks before the child was born;
When at least one of the aforementioned circumstances exists a person will be assessed for child support.
Persons who refute paternity or want to establish it obtain a DNA test. DNA tests usually take 6-8 weeks. There are two types of DNA tests:
- Non-legal test – The results of this test are for personal use only and cannot be used to settle legal issues. Some persons go through a DNA test for their peace of mind that is why it is also called “Peace of Mind Test”. Mouth swabs are taken from the child and the person alleged to be the father. Then the swabs are sent to the laboratory. Since this test involves self sampling it does not comply with the strict legal requirements, thus, the results are inadmissible in court.
- Legal test – The mouth swab samples are taken by an authorized pathology collector and analyzed by an authorized DNA laboratory. The identity of the samples and their verification are ensured. With the legal test the mother’s consent must be obtained.
I am assessed for child support but I am not the father. I want a DNA test. What should I do?
- You can file an objection to the assessment within 28 days from the date of the decision assessing you for child support. Allege that there has been a mistake in naming you as the father.
- Apply to the court for an order that the mother is not entitled to child support because you are not the father. Filing an application with the Federal Circuit Court must be done within 56 days from receipt of the assessment while with the Family Court it is 60 days from receipt of the assessment for child support. The final court order that you will be seeking is that the mother is not entitled to child support because you are not the parent. To prove this, ask for an interim order requiring the mother and the child to participate in a DNA parentage test. The court may order the applicant to shoulder all the costs of testing or that the costs will be shared with the mother. The judicial officer will read the results in court. If the results are in your favour you can apply to the court for a refund of the amount you paid for the testing.