Brady Arama v Erika Blair [2016] NZFC 1956

Published 31 July 2016

Declaration as to non-paternity — The Status of Children Act 1969 — child support. The applicant was successful in a declaration of non-paternity after giving unequivocal evidence that he was not the father of the respondent’s child. He had signed the birth certificate knowing he was not the child’s father because he had not wanted the child to be fatherless and thought his relationship with the child’s mother was going to last. The respondent and child had moved to Australia when the child was a baby and the applicant was approached by the Child Support Agency of Australia to pay child support. He was not in a financial position to pay the support and was unable to proceed with a declaration for non-paternity due to administrative barriers. The Child Support Agency of Australia was pursuing debt from the applicant for unpaid arrears and maintenance and ongoing child support. After making the declaration the Judge authorised the release of the decision to Australian authorities and asked them to consider the immediate suspension of weekly deductions from the applicant’s income, and rescind liability against the applicant for debts of over $30,000. Given he was not the father the Judge took the view that it was not his debt to bear. **Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements.