Last updated 5 September 2022

Proof of paternity

In the absence of contrary evidence, a person is presumed to be the father if:

  • a person’s name is on the birth certificate as the father
  • a deed acknowledging paternity is signed by both the father and mother
  • a statutory declaration acknowledging paternity is made by the father
  • a declaration of paternity is made by a court. To assist in the determination of paternity, a court may order a person to undergo medical parentage testing
  • a person is married to the mother and they cohabitate.

However, a number of these presumptions can be rebutted (pt 3 div 3 Status of Children Act 1978 (Qld)  and ss 69P–69U Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (Family Law Act).

Notification of births

Queensland’s Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 2003 (Qld) (BDMR Act) requires notification of every birth to be forwarded to the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages (the registrar) within two working days of the birth (s 5 BDMR Act). If the birth occurs in a hospital, this notification will be made by the hospital. If the child is born in some other place, the midwife or doctor, mother or other attendant should make the notification.

The mother and father of a child are required to lodge details of the birth of their child with the registrar within 60 days after the birth. In certain circumstances the registrar can accept an application from one parent (ss 8, 9 BDMR Act).

Birth certificates

The registrar will not certify someone as a parent unless that person signs the birth registration application, and the registrar is satisfied that that person is a parent of the child (s 10 BDMR Act). However, there are exceptions to this in certain circumstances (s 10(3) BDMR Act).

If information on the birth certificate changes, an application can be made for re-registration of the birth (s 14 BDMR Act). This includes a change to a person’s adoption register, a change to parentage by a parentage order or if parentage is changed by a cultural recognition order and registered under this Act.

Name of the child

The child’s name must be stated in the birth registration application. If only one name is stated, it is taken as being the child’s surname. If the name is a prohibited name, the parents cannot agree on a name or there is no name for the child, the registrar may choose one. Either parent may also apply to a Magistrates Court to decide a child’s name (s 12 BDMR Act).

Change of name

Any person, including a child, may use any name they wish, provided the name is not used with the intention to defraud anyone.

A child’s name can be changed by the child’s parents, either by re-registration or by simply deciding to call the child by another name. The consent of each parent can be required before a name can be changed by re-registration or usage (see Changing Your Name). Under the Family Law Act, if two or more persons share parental responsibility, they are required to make the decision about a child’s name jointly.