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What is paternity?

Paternity is a word for fatherhood of a child. It can be very important when:

  • either parent wants to prove that a man is or is not the father of a child
  • either parent applies for a Parenting Order for care of children
  • a mother applies for child support from the father
  • a mother applies for a benefit to support herself and the child
  • a child claims inheritance and property rights from someone they believe to be their father
  • a person claims citizenship based on their father’s citizenship.

Establishing paternity for the Sole Parent Support benefit

Social Security Act 2018, ss 192–194 (repealed)

In the past, women applying for the benefit Sole Parent Support (or the previous Domestic Purposes Benefit – “DPB”) had often needed to bring paternity proceedings to show they were taking steps to name the father of their child. Work and Income had the power to reduce the amount of their benefit if they didn’t do this or if they refused to name the father. On 1 April 2020 the law changed, so that Work and Income no longer have this power.

See “Types of benefits” in the chapter “Dealing with Work and Income”.

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