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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2357         FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1356

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Colleen M. Garry

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To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to establishing paternity .

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Colleen M. Garry

36th Middlesex

James J. Dwyer

30th Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2357        FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1356

By Ms. Garry of Dracut, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1356) of Colleen M. Garry and James J. Dwyer relative to establishing paternity and establishing uniform procedures for providing information to mothers and certain fathers regarding the benefits and responsibilities of parentage.  The Judiciary. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

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An Act relative to establishing paternity .
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1. Section 11 of Chapter 209C of the General Laws as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition is hereby amended by inserting at the end there of the following new sections:-

              (e) The commissioner of revenue in conjunction with the commissioner of the department of public health shall promulgate regulations for uniform procedures for providing information to the mother and putative father regarding the benefits and responsibilities of parentage and the taking of acknowledgments of parentage at hospitals pursuant to section 3C of chapter 46 and this chapter, at the clerk of the city or town’s office or by other agencies or departments and the IV-D agency employees pursuant to sections 2, 5B and 11 of this chapter.

              (f) Before a written voluntary acknowledgment of parentage is executed by the putative father and the mother of a child, genetic marker testing shall be performed to determine whether the putative father is the child’s father and the results of said testing shall have been made available to the parties unless the mother and putative father have executed a voluntary acknowledgment of parentage with a notarized waiver of genetic marker testing which indicates that:

              (1) the party was offered genetic marker testing and declined to have genetic testing performed before signing an acknowledgment of parentage;

              (2) the party understands that an acknowledgment of parentage is the same as a court judgment adjudicating paternity; and

              (3) the party understands that a man who has been adjudicated the father of a child will be responsible for the child’s support until the child’s emancipation unless he seeks relief from judgment or rescinds the acknowledgment as set forth in preceding paragraphs.

              (g) Acknowledgment of parentage forms shall be promulgated by the commissioner of revenue in conjunction with the commissioner of the department of public health with additional information to be provided to the parties of the legal rights and responsibilities created by an acknowledgment of parentage, which shall include, but not be limited to the following:

              (1) the availability of genetic marker testing which can be performed before signing an acknowledgment of parentage form;

              (2) the opportunity to seek advice from an attorney (at the party’s own expense) before signing the acknowledgment of parentage even if the party or child receives public assistance;

              (3) the benefits of genetic marker testing in promoting a child’s best interests;

              (4) statements explaining that an acknowledgment of parentage creates a permanent father and child relationship even if the acknowledgment is made out of court, it is the same as a final court judgment declaring the man the father of a child;

              (5) statements explaining the consequences of making an acknowledgment of parentage and how to rescind an acknowledgment as well as set aside a judgment of parentage; or

              (6) statements indicating how to obtain genetic marker testing through the IV-D agency and the costs of such genetic marker testing.

              (h) If the mother and/or putative father is a minor child under the age or eighteen; he or she may voluntarily acknowledge parentage but only if:

              (1) genetic marker testing has been performed and the results of such testing indicate a probability of paternity over 95% for the putative father; or

              (2) the acknowledgment is executed in a proceeding under this chapter where the minor is either represented by counsel or the court after a hearing determines that: (a) the minor father and/or minor mother was provided the opportunity to submit to genetic marker testing through the IV-D agency; and (b) the minor(s) file a written notarized waiver of such testing in the case; and (c) the minor or minor(s) were informed that the acknowledgment of parentage can only be challenged on the basis of duress, fraud, or mistake within a year.

              (i) Nothing in this section shall affect the validity of an acknowledgment signed before the effective date of sections 11e-1 of chapter 209C.

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