Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 2. Administrative Enforcement of Support

Establishment Of Paternity -- Notice Of Parental Responsibility -- Contents

40-5-232. Establishment of paternity -- notice of parental responsibility -- contents. (1) When the paternity of a child has not been legally established under the provisions of Title 40, chapter 6, part 1, or otherwise, the department may proceed to establish paternity under the provisions of 40-5-231 through 40-5-237. An administrative hearing held under the provisions of 40-5-231 through 40-5-237 is a contested case within the meaning of 2-4-102 and is subject to the provisions of Title 2, chapter 4, except as otherwise provided in 40-5-231 through 40-5-237.

(2) It is presumed to be in the best interest of a child to legally determine and establish paternity. A presumption under this subsection may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.

(3) In a proceeding under 40-5-231 through 40-5-237, if an alleged father consents in writing to entry of an order declaring the alleged father to be the legal father of a child, the department may enter an order establishing legal paternity. As a part of a consent to entry of an order declaring paternity, the department shall provide information to the parents regarding the rights and responsibilities of an alleged father consenting to entry of an order declaring paternity. A consent to entry of an order declaring paternity is binding on a parent who executes it, whether or not the parent is a minor.

(4) Full faith and credit must be given to a determination of paternity made by any other state, whether presumed by law, established through voluntary acknowledgment, or established by administrative or judicial processes.

(5) The department shall commence proceedings to establish paternity by serving on an alleged father a notice of parental responsibility. The department may not serve the notice unless it has:

(a) a sworn statement claiming that the alleged father is the child's natural father;

(b) evidence of the existence of a presumption of paternity under 40-6-105; or

(c) any other reasonable cause to believe that the alleged father is the child's natural father.

(6) Regardless of whether the department has grounds to or intends to commence a paternity proceeding against the alleged father, when the child support enforcement division in a case under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act receives a written claim from a child's mother that names a person as the alleged natural father of the child, the department shall promptly take reasonable steps to locate and notify the alleged father of the existence of the claim. The notification must be given to the alleged father in a manner that places the demands of individual privacy above the merits of public disclosure. The notification must include the name of the mother and the date of birth or the projected date of birth if the child has not yet been born.

(7) Service on the alleged father of the notice of parental responsibility must be made as provided in 40-5-231(2). The notice must include:

(a) an allegation that the alleged father is the natural father of the child involved;

(b) the child's name and place and date of birth;

(c) the name of the child's mother and the name of the person or agency having custody of the child, if other than the mother;

(d) the probable time or period of time during which conception took place;

(e) a statement that if the alleged father fails to timely deny the allegation of paternity, the question of paternity may be resolved against the alleged father without further notice;

(f) a statement that if the alleged father timely denies the allegation of paternity:

(i) the alleged father is subject to compulsory paternity genetic testing;

(ii) a paternity genetic test may result in a presumption of paternity; and

(iii) upon receipt of the paternity genetic test results, if the alleged father continues to deny paternity, the alleged father may request the department to refer the matter to district court for a determination of paternity.

(8) The alleged father may file a written denial of paternity with the department within 20 days after service of the notice of parental responsibility.

(9) When there is more than one alleged father of a child, the department may serve a notice of parental responsibility on each alleged father in the same consolidated proceeding or in separate proceedings. Failure to serve notice on an alleged father does not prevent the department from serving notice on any other alleged father of the same child.

History: En. Sec. 3, Ch. 119, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 16, Ch. 631, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 70, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 398, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 47, Ch. 552, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 364, L. 2019.