How Do You Get a Court Ordered Paternity Test in Australia?
If you have received a parentage testing order from the Family Court to undergo paternity testing, or you need to prove paternity for other legal reasons, such as adding your name to a child’s birth certificate, you will need a legally admissible DNA test from a NATA accredited laboratory.
What is a NATA accredited laboratory?
NATA, which stands for the National Association of Testing Authorities, is an external body that assesses paternity testing laboratories to ensure they comply with the requirements of the Family Law Regulations 1984 (Cth) and an international standard called ISO/IEC 17025. You can check if your chosen laboratory has the appropriate accreditation on the NATA website. You may find other options on the internet that appear cheaper than accredited labs but be aware that you get what you pay for. Results provided by these labs won’t be accepted in court and you will need to undergo the process again.
Completing the paperwork and having your sample collected
As the results are being used for legal purposes, it is important that everyone is properly identified. Each person being tested will need to provide two passport-sized photos. One of these photos will be attached to the consent form, known as the Form 2, which must be completed and signed in the presence of a qualified witness such as a Justice of the Peace or legal practitioner. By signing this form, you are consenting to have your sample taken for the purposes of the paternity test. Everyone being tested will need to complete their own Form 2. A person who is responsible for the long‑term care, welfare, and development of the child will complete this on their behalf.
You will need to have your sample collected on the same day that you complete your Form 2. Make sure you take your instructions, completed Form 2, a second passport-sized photo, and sealed sample pack to your appointment. Your sample collector will attach your second photo to another form called a Form 4, which they will complete and sign. They will then collect a sample from the inside of your mouth using a foam swab. Once this is done, the sampler will package and seal all the paperwork and the sample into a tamper-proof bag for returning to Identilab. Once we have the samples back in the laboratory we will let you know and processing will begin. Our standard turnaround time for results is 5 business days, and we also have an Express Testing option for $195. This will ensure you have your results within 2 business days of us receiving the samples.
Summarised parentage testing requirements of the Family Law Regulations 1984 (Cth)
The parentage testing procedure must be carried out:
“…at a laboratory that is accredited by NATA for the purpose of carrying out parentage testing procedures; and in accordance with standards of practice that entitle the laboratory to be so accredited.”
The person collecting the bodily sample (the sampler) from a participant must be:
“…a registered medical practitioner…” or “…employed by a hospital, a pathology practice, a parentage testing practice or a registered medical practitioner for the purpose of taking a bodily sample from a donor.”
The person providing a DNA sample (the donor) must have:
“…immediately before the sampler takes the bodily sample, completed an affidavit in accordance with Form 2 in Schedule 1, to which is attached a recent photograph of the donor named in the affidavit…” and “…provided to the sampler a recent photograph of the donor… that shows a full face view of the donor’s head and the donor’s shoulders.”
If the donor is under the age of 18 years, or a person who is incapable of signing due to mental disability, the affidavit must be completed by:
“…a person who is responsible for the long‑term care, welfare and development of the child/person suffering from a mental disability.”
To satisfy the chain-of-custody requirements and ensure the samples aren’t tampered with:
“…the sampler must ensure that the sample is placed in a container immediately after it is taken; and in the presence of the donor.” The container must “be sealed in a way that, if it were opened after being sealed, that fact would be evident on inspection of the container.”
After taking the sample, the sampler must:
“…complete a statement in accordance with Form 4 in Schedule 1; and affix the photograph of the donor to the statement; and sign his or her name partly on the photograph and partly on the statement in a way that, if the photograph were later removed from the statement, the removal would be evident from inspection of the statement.”
Contact Identilab to discuss your situation
Identilab staff are highly trained to answer any questions and concerns you might have about the DNA testing process and will take you through every step. Give us a call on 1300 114 294 or email us at [email protected]. A legally admissible DNA test at Identilab costs $495 and includes testing for the alleged father, the known mother, and one child. Additional children can be tested for $195 each.
If you are local to Brisbane, we can arrange a free appointment in our office. During this appointment, we will complete all the required paperwork with you and collect your DNA sample. We appreciate that the relationship between parents may be strained at this time, and do not require you to attend the same appointment together. Separate appointments can be scheduled to suit each parent or participant.
For customers elsewhere in Australia, we will send out a DNA collection kit to you. This comes with detailed instructions, a consent form, and a sample pack that contains everything your chosen medical professional needs to collect your sample from you. This can be a GP, clinic nurse, or pathology collector. Depending on your location, we can also provide you with a request form for your nearest Pathology Collection Centre. Please note that your sample collector will likely charge you a small fee to collect your sample. This is not included in our testing fees.
We know this process can be overwhelming, which is why we’re only a phone call or email away! Get in contact on 1300 114 294 or via [email protected] and we will try to reduce any anxiety you may be feeling.