40-5-233. Establishment of paternity -- administrative hearing -- subpoena -- compulsory blood testing. (1) (a) Paternity blood testing may be requested by the alleged father, the mother, or the child through the child's custodian and may be made in conjunction with or in addition to a notice the department issues under 40-5-232. The request must be in writing and must be supported by a sworn statement of the requester that includes:
(i) an allegation of paternity and sufficient facts to establish a reasonable probability that the alleged father engaged in an act with the child's mother during the probable time of the child's conception that could have resulted in the child's conception; or
(ii) a denial of paternity and sufficient facts to establish a reasonable probability of the nonexistence of contact between the alleged father and the child's mother that could have resulted in the child's conception.
(b) If the department determines after a review of a sworn statement that there are sufficient facts to establish a reasonable probability of paternity or nonpaternity as claimed by the requesting party, the department shall issue a subpoena ordering the alleged father, the mother, or the child through the child's custodian to submit to blood testing.
(c) A pending request for blood testing under this section does not prevent the department from issuing a notice of parental responsibility under 40-5-232.
(d) Denial of a request for paternity blood testing under this subsection (1) is not a finding of nonpaternity and does not prevent the issuance of a notice under 40-5-232. A denial does not affect the completion of any pending action initiated under 40-5-232.
(2) (a) The department may order an alleged father to appear for an administrative hearing when:
(i) the department determines that the sworn statement provided in subsection (1) does not contain sufficient facts to issue a blood test subpoena and that additional examination of witnesses or evidence is necessary; or
(ii) the department receives a timely filed written denial of paternity in response to a notice under 40-5-232.
(b) The hearing must initially be conducted by teleconferencing methods and is subject to the provisions of the Montana Administrative Procedure Act. At the request of a party, the hearings officer shall, at the close of a teleconference hearing, grant a de novo in-person hearing.
(c) The department may issue a subpoena ordering the alleged father to submit to paternity blood testing if the testimony and other supplementary evidence demonstrate a reasonable probability:
(i) that the alleged father engaged in an act with the child's mother during the probable time of the child's conception that could have resulted in the child's conception; or
(ii) when the alleged father's paternity is presumed under 40-6-105, of the nonexistence of contact between the alleged father and the child's mother that could have resulted in the child's conception.
(d) For the purposes of this subsection (2), a reasonable probability of an act during the possible time of conception may be established by affidavit of the child's mother without need for the mother to appear at the hearing.
(3) Previous paternity actions under this part that did not result in a subpoena for paternity blood testing do not prevent the department from recommencing a paternity action if the department believes it can establish any of the factors listed in subsection (2)(c) or (2)(d).
(4) When there is reasonable cause to suggest that a blood test sample of a person submitting to a blood test was not the sample of the alleged father, mother, or child, an additional hearing may be held. The scope of the hearing is limited to questions involving the blood drawing or the chain of custody at the blood drawing site. The hearings officer may order retesting of any party.
(5) If the department does not receive a timely filed written denial of paternity or if an alleged father fails to appear at a scheduled hearing or for a scheduled paternity blood test, the department may enter an order declaring the alleged father the legal father of the child. The order will take effect within 10 days after entry of the default unless the alleged father before the 10th day presents good cause for failure to make a timely denial or for failure to appear at the hearing or to undergo paternity blood testing. The department may not enter an order under this section if there is more than one alleged father unless the default applies to only one of them and all others have been excluded by the results of paternity blood testing. An order issued under the provisions of this section may be set aside as provided in 40-5-235(3).
(6) If the rights of others and the interests of justice so require, the department may apply to any district court under the provisions of 2-4-104 for an order compelling an alleged father to submit to paternity blood testing. The court shall hear the matter as expeditiously as possible. If the court finds reasonable cause to believe that the alleged father is the natural or presumed father of the child, the court shall enter an order compelling the alleged father to submit to a paternity blood test. Reasonable cause may be established by affidavit of the child's mother.
History: En. Sec. 4, Ch. 119, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 70, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 48, Ch. 552, L. 1997.