Chapter 15 - Paternity Proceedings

Chapter 15 - Paternity Proceedings

45.1501 Persons who may initiate proceedings-Limitations.

(a) Proceedings to establish the paternity of a child and to compel support under this chapter may be commenced by the mother, whether a minor or not, by the child’s guardian of the person, or, if the mother or the child is a public charge, by the Department of Health.

(b) No proceeding under this chapter may be initiated after the child is 5 years of age or older unless paternity has been acknowledged by the father in writing or by furnishing support.

45.1502 Petition.

Proceedings under this chapter are started by the filing of a verified petition alleging that the person named as respondent is the father of the child and requesting the Court to enter a declaration of paternity, an order of support, or any other relief that may be appropriate.

45.1503 Summons.

(a) Upon filing of the petition, the Court issues a summons stating the substance of the petition and requiring the alleged father to appear at the time and place set for hearing on the petition.

(b) Service of the summons is by personal service as provided in Rules 4 and 5 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

(c) The hearing is set for a day not less than 10 days after service is completed or at a later date the Court may order.

45.1504 Hearing testimony.

(a) At the hearing, the mother and alleged father are competent to testify. If the mother is married, both she and her husband may testify as to nonaccess.

(b) The Court may exclude the general public from the hearing room and may admit only persons directly interested in the case, including officers of the Court and witnesses.

(c) Upon motion of the alleged father, blood grouping tests may be ordered and the results received in evidence.

45.1505 Orders.

(a) If the Court finds the respondent is not the father of the child, it dismisses the petition.

(b) If the Court finds the respondent is the father of the child, it makes an order declaring paternity.

(c) (1) In a proceeding in which the Court has made an order declaring paternity, the Court may order the father to pay weekly or at other fixed periods, a fair and reasonable sum for the support and education of the child until the child is 18 years of age, or until the child is 21 years of age in the discretion of the Court, unless the support order is terminated sooner because the child becomes self-supporting or is legally emancipated. The Court takes into consideration other persons legally entitled to support by the father.

(2) The Court may order a father to pay for the support of his child after the child is 21 years of age if the child is unable to care for himself by reason of mental or physical handicap or other reason justifiable in the opinion of the court.

(3) The order declaring paternity may also direct the father to pay for support of the child prior to the order.

(4) The order may direct the father to pay necessary expenses incurred by or for the mother in connection with her confinement and any expenses in connection with her pregnancy as the Court may find proper.

(5) The Court may order payments made to the mother or to some other person or agency who shall administer them under the supervision of the Court.

(d) The Court may require the father to enter a bond as surety that the order of support will be carried out.

(e) The Court may modify an order of support upon proof of change in relevant circumstances.

(f) The Court may assess the costs of the action as part of its order.

45.1506 Failure to comply.

(a) A person failing to comply with an order of the Court in connection with paternity proceedings brought under this chapter may be found in contempt of Court and dealt with accordingly.

(b) The Court has authority to issue writs of execution for the collection of accrued and unpaid installments of support orders.

45.1507 Agreement or compromise.

(a) An agreement or compromise made by the mother or by some authorized person on behalf of either the mother or child concerning the support of either is binding upon the mother and child only when the court approves the agreement or compromise after determining that adequate provision for support has been made and is fully secured.

(b) The complete performance of the agreement or compromise, when so approved, bars other remedies of the mother or child for the support and education of the child.