The court has the authority to order a parentage testing procedure. Only procedures that follow Family Law regulations are admissible in court.
Parentage procedures, more commonly known as parentage testing procedures, is one of the most contentious issues in the field of family law in Australia. Parentage procedures may be conducted with or without a court order.
A parentage procedure that is conducted without a court order may not be used for legal purposes. The results of such a test will be for the sole use and information of the party who requested for the procedure. Thus, it will have no legal effect. On the other hand, a parentage procedure that is conducted through court order will have many legal consequences.
The Family Law Act grants to the court the authority to order a parentage testing procedure where the child’s parentage is in doubt. The order may be directed towards the child, child’s mother, father or any other person who is relevant to the determination of a child’s parentage. So, actually the FLA erases the misconception that it is only the father who questions parentage.
There are cases where it is the mothers who request to have a DNA test or decline to have one conducted. In fact, in one case both the father and the mother declined to have a parentage testing procedure. A third party, the applicant, alleged that he had an affair with the mother and so he applied for DNA testing. The court drew an inference from the father and mother’s refusal and also because the mother never refuted the applicant’s allegations.
An inference is one that can be drawn by the court against the person who refuses to have a child tested or contravenes the order of the court for parentage testing procedure. This is what happened in one family law case where a man refused paternity testing.
The mother of the child was seeking for child maintenance from the man. During her sexual relationship with the man she was also working as a prostitute. The Court drew an inference from the refusal of the man to participate in the paternity testing and found that he is most probably the father of the child.
The parentage testing procedure may be conducted in accordance with the Family Law regulations or outside the regulations. The procedures can be done by an accredited or non-accredited laboratory. However, if a person is using the results of the procedure for court proceedings then the procedure must follow the Family Law regulations.
The advantage with having the procedure follow Family Law regulations is that the party is assured of the scientific reliability of the tests conducted and the results. So with Family Law regulated parentage procedures, the protection of the integrity of the sample and the accuracy of the technical results are ensured.
This is the reason why only results of parentage testing procedure following Family Law regulations are admissible in court as evidence.
There are strict requirements to follow under the Family Law regulations. The person who provided the sample must execute a prescribed affidavit and declaration. The donor must sign the sealed container which holds the sample and provide a photograph which will be attached to the affidavit.
The laboratory personnel that took the sample or conducted the test must sign over the photograph and statement of the donor in such a way that if the photograph is removed the removal would be immediately apparent.