Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 2. Administrative Enforcement of Support

Referral Of Paternity Issue To District Court -- Record -- Parties -- Exclusion Of Other Matters -- Fees

40-5-236. Referral of paternity issue to district court -- record -- parties -- exclusion of other matters -- fees. (1) If the scientific evidence resulting from a paternity genetic test does not exclude the alleged father and the alleged father continues to deny paternity, the alleged father shall file a written objection with the department within 20 days after service of the paternity genetic test results specifically requesting referral of the paternity issue to the district court. Upon receipt of the written objection, the department shall refer the matter to the district court for a determination based on the contents of the administrative hearing record and any further evidence that may be produced at trial. Except as otherwise provided in 40-5-231 through 40-5-237, proceedings in the district court must be conducted pursuant to Title 40, chapter 6, part 1.

(2) The administrative record must include:

(a) a copy of the notice of parental responsibility and the return of service of the notice;

(b) the alleged father's written denial of paternity, if any;

(c) the transcript of the administrative hearing;

(d) the paternity genetic test results and any report of an expert based on the results; and

(e) any other relevant information.

(3) Upon filing of the record with the district court, the court acquires jurisdiction over the parties as if they had been served with a summons and complaint. The department shall serve written notice upon the alleged father, as provided in 40-5-231(2), that the issue of paternity has been referred to the district court for determination.

(4) In a proceeding in the district court, the department shall appear on the issue of paternity only. The court may not appoint a guardian ad litem for the child unless the court in its discretion determines that an appointment is necessary and in the best interest of the child. Neither the mother nor the child is a necessary party, but either may testify as a witness.

(5) No other matter may be joined with an action to determine the existence or nonexistence of the parent and child relationship under this section. The parties shall institute an independent action to address other issues, including visitation and custody.

(6) Except as provided in 25-10-711, the department is not liable for attorney fees, including fees for attorneys assigned under 40-6-119, or fees of a guardian ad litem appointed under 40-6-110.

History: En. Sec. 7, Ch. 119, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 70, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 482, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 50, Ch. 552, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 27, Ch. 449, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 364, L. 2019.