California Paternity Statutes

Blood Tests to Determine Paternity.

California Family Code, sections 7550-7558

7550. This chapter may be cited as the Uniform Act on Blood Tests to Determine Paternity.

7551. In a civil action or proceeding in which paternity is a relevant fact, the court may upon its own initiative or upon suggestion made by or on behalf of any person who is involved, and shall upon motion of any party to the action or proceeding made at a time so as not to delay the proceedings unduly, order the mother, child, and alleged father to submit to genetic tests. If a party refuses to submit to the tests, the court may resolve the question of paternity against that party or enforce its order if the rights of others and the interests of justice so require. A party's refusal to submit to the tests is admissible in evidence in any proceeding to determine paternity. For the purposes of this chapter, "genetic tests" means any genetic test that is generally acknowledged as reliable by accreditation bodies designated by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.

7551.5. All hospitals, local child support agencies, welfare offices, and family courts shall facilitate genetic tests for purposes of enforcement of this chapter. This may include having a health care professional available for purposes of extracting samples to be used for genetic testing.

7552. The genetic tests shall be performed by a laboratory approved by any accreditation body that has been approved by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. Any party or person at whose suggestion the tests have been ordered may demand that other experts, qualified as examiners of blood types, perform independent tests under order of the court, the results of which may be offered in evidence. The number and qualifications of these experts shall be determined by the court.

7552.5. (a) A copy of the results of all genetic tests performed under Section 7552 or 7558 shall be served upon all parties, by any method of service authorized under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 1010) of Title 14 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure except personal service, no later than 20 days prior to any hearing in which the genetic test results may be admitted into evidence. The genetic test results shall be accompanied by a declaration under penalty of perjury of the custodian of records or other qualified employee of the laboratory that conducted the genetic tests, stating in substance each of the following:


(1) The declarant is the duly authorized custodian of the records or other qualified employee of the laboratory, and has authority to certify the records.


(2) A statement which establishes in detail the chain of custody of all genetic samples collected, including the date on which the genetic sample was collected, the identity of each person from whom a genetic sample was collected, the identity of the person who performed or witnessed the collecting of the genetic samples and packaged them for transmission to the laboratory, the date on which the genetic samples were received by the laboratory, the identity of the person who unpacked the samples and forwarded them to the person who performed the laboratory analysis of the genetic sample, and the identification and qualifications of all persons who performed the laboratory analysis and published the results.


(3) A statement which establishes that the procedures used by the laboratory to conduct the tests for which the test results are attached are used in the laboratory's ordinary course of business to ensure accuracy and proper identification of genetic samples.


(4) The genetic test results were prepared at or near the time of completion of the genetic tests by personnel of the business qualified to perform genetic tests in the ordinary course of business.


(b) The genetic test results shall be admitted into evidence at the hearing or trial to establish paternity, without the need for foundation testimony of authenticity and accuracy, unless a written objection to the genetic test results is filed with the court and served on all other parties, by any party no later than five days prior to the hearing or trial where paternity is at issue.


(c) If a written objection is filed with the court and served on all parties within the time specified in subdivision (b), experts appointed by the court shall be called by the court as witnesses to testify to their findings and are subject to cross-examination by the parties.


(d) If a genetic test reflects a paternity index of 100 or greater, the copy of the results mailed under subdivision (a) shall be accompanied with a voluntary declaration of paternity form, information prepared according to Section 7572.

7553. The compensation of each expert witness appointed by the court shall be fixed at a reasonable amount. It shall be paid as the court shall order. The court may order that it be paid by the parties in the proportions and at the times the court prescribes, or that the proportion of any party be paid by the county, and that, after payment by the parties or the county or both, all or part or none of it be taxed as costs in the action or proceeding.

7554. (a) If the court finds that the conclusions of all the experts, as disclosed by the evidence based upon the tests, are that the alleged father is not the father of the child, the question of paternity shall be resolved accordingly.


(b) If the experts disagree in their findings or conclusions, or if the tests show the probability of the alleged father's paternity, the question, subject to Section 352 of the Evidence Code, shall be submitted upon all the evidence, including evidence based upon the tests.

7555. (a) There is a rebuttable presumption, affecting the burden of proof, of paternity, if the court finds that the paternity index, as calculated by the experts qualified as examiners of genetic markers, is 100 or greater. This presumption may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.


(b) As used in this section:


(1) "Genetic markers" mean separate genes or complexes of genes identified as a result of genetic tests.

(2) "Paternity index" means the commonly accepted indicator used for denoting the existence of paternity. It expresses the relative strength of the test results for and against paternity. The paternity index, computed using results of various paternity tests following accepted statistical principles, shall be in accordance with the method of expression accepted at the International Conference on Parentage Testing at Airlie House, Virginia, May 1982, sponsored by the American Association of Blood Banks.

7556. This part applies to criminal actions subject to the following limitations and provisions:

(a) An order for the tests shall be made only upon application of a party or on the court's initiative.

(b) The compensation of the experts shall be paid by the county under order of court.

(c) The court may direct a verdict of acquittal upon the conclusions of all the experts under Section 7554; otherwise, the case shall be submitted for determination upon all the evidence.

7557. Nothing in this part prevents a party to an action or proceeding from producing other expert evidence on the matter covered by this part; but, where other expert witnesses are called by a party to the action or proceeding, their fees shall be paid by the party calling them and only ordinary witness fees shall be taxed as costs in the action or proceeding.

7558. (a) This section applies only to cases where support enforcement services are being provided by the local child support agency pursuant to Section 17400.

(b) In any civil action or proceeding in which paternity is a relevant fact, and in which the issue of paternity is contested, the local child support agency may issue an administrative order requiring the mother, child, and the alleged father to submit to genetic testing if any of the following conditions exist:

(1) The person alleging paternity has signed a statement under penalty of perjury that sets forth facts that establish a reasonable possibility of the requisite sexual conduct between the mother and the alleged father.

(2) The person denying paternity has signed a statement under penalty of perjury that sets forth facts that establish a reasonable possibility of the nonexistence of the requisite sexual contact between the parties.

(3) The alleged father has filed an answer in the action or proceeding in which paternity is a relevant fact and has requested that genetic tests be performed.

(4) The mother and the alleged father agree in writing to submit to genetic tests.

(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), the local child support agency may not order an individual to submit to genetic tests if the individual has been found to have good cause for failure to cooperate in the determination of paternity pursuant to Section 11477 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

(d) The local child support agency shall pay the costs of any genetic tests that are ordered under subdivision (b), subject to the county obtaining a court order for reimbursement from the alleged father if paternity is established under Section 7553.

(e) Nothing in this section prohibits any person who has been ordered by the local child support agency to submit to genetic tests pursuant to this section from filing a notice of motion with the court in the action or proceeding in which paternity is a relevant fact seeking relief from the local child support agency's order to submit to genetic tests. In that event, the court shall resolve the issue of whether genetic tests should be ordered as provided in Section 7551. If any person refuses to submit to the tests after receipt of the administrative order pursuant to this section and fails to seek relief from the court from the administrative order either prior to the scheduled tests or within 10 days after the tests are scheduled, the court may resolve the question of paternity against that person or enforce the administrative order if the rights of others or the interest of justice so require. Except as provided in subdivision (c), a person's refusal to submit to tests ordered by the local child support agency is admissible in evidence in any proceeding to determine paternity if a notice of motion is not filed within the timeframes specified in this subdivision.

(f) If the original test result creates a rebuttable presumption of paternity under Section 7555 and the result is contested, the local child support agency shall order an additional test only upon request and advance payment of the contestant.



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