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Legal Statutes: New Jersey

UPDATED February 3, 2016

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Article 10. Parentage

back to top9:17-41. Proof of parent-child relationship; termination of natural parental rights

The parent and child relationship between a child and:

a. The natural mother, may be established by proof of her having given birth to the child, or under P.L.1983, c. 17 (C.9:17-38 et seq.);

b. The natural father, may be established by proof that his paternity has been adjudicated under prior law; under the laws governing probate; by giving full faith and credit to a determination of paternity made by any other state or jurisdiction, whether established through voluntary acknowledgment or through judicial or administrative processes; by a Certificate of Parentage as provided in section 7 of P.L.1994, c. 164 (C.26:8-28.1) that is executed by the father, including an unemancipated minor, prior to or after the birth of a child, and filed with the appropriate State agency; by a default judgment or order of the court; or by an order of the court based on a blood test or genetic test that meets or exceeds the specific threshold probability as set by subsection i. of section 11 of P.L.1983, c. 17 (C.9:17-48) creating a rebuttable presumption of paternity.

In accordance with section 331 of Pub.L.104-193, a signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity shall be considered a legal finding of paternity subject to the right of the signatory to rescind the acknowledgment within 60 days of the date of signing, or by the date of establishment of a support order to which the signatory is a party, whichever is earlier.

The adjudication of paternity shall only be voided upon a finding that there exists clear and convincing evidence of: fraud, duress or a material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof upon the challenger;

c. An adoptive parent, may be established by proof of adoption;

d. The natural mother or the natural father, may be terminated by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction in granting a judgment of adoption or as the result of an action to terminate parental rights;

e. The establishment of the parent and child relationship pursuant to subsections a., b., and c. of this section shall be the basis upon which an action for child support may be brought by a party and acted upon by the court without further evidentiary proceedings;

f. In any case in which the parties execute a Certificate of Parentage or a rebuttable presumption of paternity is created through genetic testing, the presumptions of paternity under section 6 of P.L.1983, c. 17 P.L.1983, c. 17 (C.9:17-43) shall not apply;

g. Pursuant to the provisions of section 331 of Pub.L.104-193, [FN1] the child and other parties in a contested paternity case shall submit to a genetic test upon the request of one of the parties, unless that person has good cause for refusal, if the request is supported by a sworn statement by the requesting party:

(1) alleging paternity and setting forth the facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the requisite sexual contact between the parties; or

(2) denying paternity and setting forth the facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the nonexistence of sexual contact between the parties.

h. In a contested paternity case in which the State IV-D agency requires or the court orders genetic testing, the State IV-D agency shall:

(1) pay the costs of the genetic test and may recoup payment from the alleged father whose paternity is established; and

(2) obtain additional testing if the initial test results are contested, and upon the request and advance payment for the additional test by the contestant.
L.1983, c. 17, § 4, eff. May 21, 1983. Amended by L.1994, c. 164, § 1, eff. Dec. 20, 1994; L.1997, c. 376, § 3, eff. Jan. 19, 1998; L.1998, c. 1, § 38, eff. March 5, 1998.