Beckett v Moroney [2018] NZFC 8468

Published 07 November 2019

Paternity — lack of DNA evidence — balance of probabilities — Status of Children Act 1969 — Family Proceedings Act 1980. The applicant sought a declaration under the Status of Children Act that he is the father of a child; the child was aged around 12 years old at the date of the hearing. The respondent, the child's mother, did not appear and took no steps in relation to the matter. The mother had informed the respondent when she was pregnant that she had not slept with anyone else and that he was the father of the child. Although there had been some discussion about his signing the birth registration form this was not done as had never received the form. Upon the applicant pursuing the matter of the child's paternity and seeking to have DNA testing completed, the respondent claimed that she had slept with other men at the time of conception. As the Status of Children Act allows for a declaration to be made on the balance of probabilities, the Court inferred that on the evidence provided and in view of the respondent's refusal or failure to undertake DNA testing, the applicant is the father of the child. The declaration sought was made, the Judge noting that the respondent would need to provide DNA testing and seek to have the order set aside if she took a different view. Judgment Date: 17 October 2018. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *