What is a Paternity Order?
A Paternity Order is an order made by the Family Court saying that the court is satisfied that a man is the father of a child. Paternity orders are considered “conclusive” evidence of paternity meaning it basically can’t be challenged, for example you could not challenge it to apply for child support from someone else.
Who can apply for a Paternity Order?
The mother of a child (and in some circumstances, someone else on behalf of the mother) can apply to the Family Court for a Paternity Order.
Who can a Paternity Order be made against?
An application for a Paternity Order can only be made against a man who:
- is not and has never been married to, or in a civil union with, the mother of the child, or
- has been married to, or in a civil union with, the mother of the child, but this relationship stopped before the woman became pregnant (conception of the child).
Time limits for applying for a Paternity Order
Applications for Paternity Orders can be made up to the child’s sixth birthday. A later application can be made:
- if at any time before the application is made the man has admitted he is the child’s father, or
- if within the two years before the application the man has either:
- lived with the mother as if he were her husband or civil union partner, or
- contributed towards the maintenance of the child (this can include financial support or gifts).
Can a Paternity Order declare that a man is not the child’s father?
Yes. If the court is satisfied that a man is not the father of the child it can make an order declaring that he is not the father of the child. The court can do this on its own or if you ask the court to do so.