Section 69V of the Family Law Act 1975 (FLA) provides that where the parentage of a child is in issue, the court may make an order requiring any person to give material evidence.
Part VII, Division 12, Subdivision D of the FLA sets out the following parentage presumptions:
•Where a child is born to a woman in a heterosexual marriage, there is a presumption that the child is the child of the woman and her husband.
•Where a heterosexual couple has cohabited not less than 20 weeks before the birth the man is presumed to be the father of the child.
•Where a parent’s name appears on the birth registration certificate.
•Where there is a written acknowledgement by a man of paternity.
•Where there is a finding by a court.
In child support matters where a party wishes to rebut a parentage presumption testing will be required. The court can make orders for participation in parentage testing if the court is of the opinion that the information obtained might assist in determining the parentage of a child.
The court has the power to make a declaration as to parentage which it will do after having regard to whatever evidence is available to them in each particular matter. A declaration as to parentage made under the FLA is conclusive evidence of parentage for the purposes of Commonwealth law, but it is in itself not a parenting order.
If found not to be the father of a child a person is entitled to seek repayment of amounts paid pursuant to s 143 of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 .