Can you get a refund for child support paid if the child you support is not really yours?
Posted: 19th September 2013
Posted in: News
Posted by: Dean Evans, Partner
This is a surprisingly frequent question raised by clients.
Clients are increasingly using DNA testing to establish whether a child is their biological child. The next question is whether they can apply for a refund of child support paid in support of that child if they are shown not to be the parent.
As with everything in life there is no simple answer.
The first step is to simply know that providing a copy of the DNA test results is not sufficient for the Child Support Agency. The Child Support Agency requires that a party apply to the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court or any state or local court exercising family law jurisdiction and seek a declaration that the party is not a parent to that child. This declaration can then be provided to the Child Support Agency.
Once the Court has made a declaration in respect to the parentage of the child, then that party can apply to the Child Support Agency to have the assessment set aside.
The Child Support Agency is then in effect taken as having never made an administrative assessment of child support payable and accordingly all child support paid is regarded as being overpaid and any money held by the Child Support Agency must be paid back to the party making the payments.
A Court can order pursuant to Section 143 of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989, that a parent repay previously paid child support.
If such an Order is made, section 143 provides that the party who paid child support can request that the Child Support Agency recover these monies on their behalf from the parent.