Establishing Parentage to Get a Child Support Assessment
How do you prove someone is the Father of a child so they have to pay child support?
If want to apply for a child support assessment, one of the things you need is proof of parentage.
The Child Support Agency (CSA) can assume a person is the father of a child in a number of circumstances, including the following:
- Where the father is listed on a child’s birth certificate;
- Where the father signs a statutory declaration declaring he is the father of the child;
- Where the mother and father were married at the time the child was conceived;
- Where the mother and father were living together at the time the child was conceived;
- Where there is an order of a court confirming a person to be the father of the child.
Unfortunately, even if you have a DNA test confirming paternity this cannot be accepted by CSA as proof of paternity.
The meaning of “parent” is generally given its ordinary meaning, as such you do not need to have been in a committed relationship with the other parent of the child, to be recognized as the legal father.
Paternity can be a complex issue for many parents, including those who are having difficulty conceiving or are unable to conceive or for those navigating surrogacy arrangements.
When would I need to apply to court about paternity?
If you wish to have a child support assessment, but are unable to obtain any proof of paternity then you may need to apply to court for a declaration that the other parent is the father of the child and should be assessed to pay child support.
When going to court you’ll need to provide evidence in an affidavit about why you say a particular person is the father. During the process the court may make an order for parentage testing to resolve the issue.
The first step is to first apply for child support. When you receive notice from child support that your application is refused you have 56 days to apply to court for a declaration pursuant to s 106A of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989. Once you are outside the 56 days you need to ask the court for permission to start your case.
If the court makes a declaration under s 106A then the effect of that order is that the child support case will start from the date of the child support application. This means if takes six months for the court to decide your case, when your child support case starts not only will the paying parent have ongoing child support, they will also need to pay arrears to cover the original 6-month period.
Can I reapply for child support if my application is refused?
You can try and reapply for child support at any time even if you have had your application for child support refused. Each time you apply child support will need to determine if you have sufficient proof of paternity to accept your case. If you do then CSA will start your case from the date of your most recent application to them. If you do not, CSA will refuse the application.
If your refusal letter from child support is a number of years old, you might consider reapplying for child support to get a new refusal that is within 56 days to apply to court.