ASSEMBLY, No. 210

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  JOAN M. QUIGLEY

District 32 (Bergen and Hudson)

Assemblyman  PATRICK J. DIEGNAN, JR.

District 18 (Middlesex)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman Greenstein and Assemblyman Prieto

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Provides that DNA test results may be used in establishing parentage.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning genetic testing and amending P.L.1983, c.17.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  Section 11 of P.L.1983, c.17 (C.9:17-48) is amended to read as follows:

     11.  a.  As soon as practicable after an action to declare the existence or nonexistence of the father and child relationship has been brought, a consent conference shall be held by the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part intake service, the Probation Division or the county welfare agency.  At the request of either party, the determination of paternity may be referred directly to the court in lieu of the consent process. A court appearance shall be scheduled in the event that a consent agreement cannot be reached.

     b.  On the basis of the information produced at the conference, an appropriate recommendation for settlement shall be made to the parties, which may include any of the following:

     (1)  That the action be dismissed with or without prejudice; or

     (2)  That the alleged father voluntarily acknowledge his paternity of the child.

     c.  If the parties accept a recommendation made in accordance with subsection b. of this section, which has been approved by the court, judgment shall be entered or a Certificate of Parentage shall be executed accordingly.

     d.  If a party refuses to accept a recommendation made under subsection b. of this section or the consent conference is terminated because it is unlikely that all parties would accept a recommendation pursuant to subsection b. of this section, and blood tests or genetic tests have not been taken, the county welfare agency shall require or the court shall order the child and the parties to submit to blood tests or genetic tests unless a party claims, and the county welfare agency or the court finds, good cause for not ordering the tests.  The court may hear and decide motions to challenge a directive issued by the county welfare agency requiring a party to submit to blood or genetic tests.  A genetic test shall be ordered upon the request of either party, if the request is supported by a sworn statement by the requesting party which alleges paternity and sets forth the facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the requisite sexual contact between the parties or denies paternity and sets forth the facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the nonexistence of sexual contact between the parties.  If a party refuses to acknowledge paternity based upon the blood or genetic test results, the action shall be set for a hearing.

     If the results of the blood test or genetic test indicate that the specific threshold probability, as set by subsection i. of this section to establish paternity has been met or exceeded, the results shall be received in evidence as a rebuttable presumption of paternity without requiring any additional foundation testimony or proof of authenticity or accuracy of the paternity testing or results. In actions based on allegations of fraud or inaccurate analysis, the court or the county welfare agency shall require that additional blood or genetic tests be scheduled within 10 days of the request and be performed by qualified experts.  Additional blood or genetic tests shall be paid for in advance by the requesting party.

     If a party objects to the results of the blood or genetic tests, the party shall make the objection to the appropriate agency, in writing, within 10 days of the consent conference or hearing.

     e.  The guardian ad litem may accept or refuse to accept a recommendation under this section.

     f.  (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1994, c.164).

     g.  No evidence, testimony or other disclosure from the consent conference shall be admitted as evidence in a civil action except by consent of the parties. However, blood tests or genetic tests ordered pursuant to subsection d. of this section shall be admitted as evidence.

     h.  The refusal to submit to a blood test or genetic test required pursuant to subsection d. of this section, or both, shall be admitted into evidence and shall give rise to the presumption that the results of the test would have been unfavorable to the interests of the party who refused to submit to the test.  Refusal to submit to a blood test or genetic test, or both, is also subject to the contempt power of the court.

     i.  Blood test or genetic test results indicating a 95% or greater probability that the alleged father is the father of the child shall create a presumption of paternity which may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence that the results of the test are not reliable in that particular case.

     j.  If a party refuses to acknowledge paternity or does not appear at a consent conference conducted by the county welfare agency, the county welfare agency shall refer the matter to the court for adjudication.  For purposes of establishing paternity, the blood or genetic test results shall be admitted into evidence at the hearing without the need for foundation testimony or other proof of authenticity or accuracy, unless an objection is made.

     k.  As used in this section, "blood or genetic test" means an analysis of genetic markers to exclude or identify a man as the father or a woman as the mother of a child.  The term includes, but is not limited to, an analysis of one or a combination of the following:

     (1)  Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA); and

     (2)  Blood-group antigens, red-cell antigens, human-leukocyte
antigens, serum enzymes, serum proteins, or red-cell enzymes.

(cf: P.L.1998, c.1, s.40)

 

     2.  This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill amends N.J.S.A.9:17-48, concerning the use of blood or genetic testing as evidence in establishing the father-child relationship, to expressly provide that the blood or genetic testing which may be ordered can include DNA tests.