Mississippi Paternity Law

This page about Mississippi paternity laws is provided as general information only. Journey Genetic Testing does not provide legal advice or representation. We encourage you to research your state laws for the most current information, or contact a family law attorney.

Mississippi Paternity Law: Title 93

§ 93-9-21. Blood tests and other tests; enforcement of order to submit; notice of witnesses testifying as to sexual intercourse with mother.

(1) (a) In all cases brought pursuant to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, upon sworn documentation by the mother, putative father, or the Department of Human Services alleging paternity, the department may issue an administrative order for paternity testing which requires the mother, putative father and minor child to submit themselves for paternity testing. The department shall send the putative father a copy of the Administrative Order and a Notice for Genetic Testing which shall include the date, time and place for collection of the putative father’s genetic sample. The Department shall also send the putative father a Notice and Complaint to Establish Paternity which shall specify the date and time certain of the court hearing by certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested. Notice shall be deemed complete as of the date of delivery as evidenced by the return receipt. The required notice may also be delivered by personal service upon the putative father in accordance with Rule 4 of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure insofar as service of an administrative order or notice is concerned.

(b) If the putative father does not submit to genetic testing, the court shall, without further notice, on the date and time previously set through the notice for hearing, review the documentation of the refusal to submit to genetic testing and make a determination as to whether the complaint to establish paternity should be granted. The refusal to submit to such testing shall create a rebuttable presumption of an admission to paternity by the putative father.

(c) In any case in which the Department of Human Services orders genetic testing, the department is required to advance costs of such tests subject to recoupment from the alleged father if paternity is established. If either party challenges the original test results, the department shall order additional testing at the expense of the challenging party.

(2) The court, on its own motion or on motion of the plaintiff or the defendant, shall order the mother, the alleged father and the child or children to submit to genetic tests and any other tests which reasonably prove or disprove the probability of paternity. If any party refuses to submit to such tests, the court may resolve the question of paternity against such party or enforce its order for genetic testing as the rights of others and the interest of justice require.

(3) Any party calling a witness or witnesses for the purpose of testifying that they had sexual intercourse with the mother at any possible time of conception of the child whose paternity is in question shall provide all other parties with the name and address of the witness at least twenty (20) days before the trial. If a witness is produced at the hearing for the purpose provided in this subsection but the party calling the witness failed to provide the twenty-day notice, the court may adjourn the proceeding for the purpose of taking a genetic test of the witness before hearing the testimony of the witness if the court finds that the party calling the witness acted in good faith.

(4) The court shall ensure that all parties are aware of their right to request genetic tests under this section.

(5) (a) Genetic tests shall be performed by a laboratory selected from the approved list as prepared and maintained by the Department of Human Services.

(b) The Department of Human Services shall publicly issue a request for proposals, and such requests for proposals when issued shall contain terms and conditions relating to price, technology and such other matters as are determined by the department to be appropriate for inclusion or required by law. After responses to the request for proposals have been duly received, the department shall select the lowest and best bid(s) on the basis of price, technology and other relevant factors and from such proposals, but not limited to the terms thereof, negotiate and enter into contract(s) with one or more of the laboratories submitting proposals. The department shall prepare a list of all laboratories with which it has contracted on these terms. The list and any updates thereto shall be distributed to all chancery clerks. To be eligible to appear on the list, a laboratory must meet the following requirements:

(i) The laboratory is qualified to do business within the State of Mississippi;

(ii) The laboratory can provide test results in less than fourteen (14) days; and

(iii) The laboratory must have participated in the competitive procurement process. Sources: Codes, 1942, § 383-08; Laws, 1962, ch. 312, § 8; Laws, 1987, ch. 455, § 1; Laws, 1990, ch. 543, § 3; Laws, 1997, ch. 588, § 133; Laws, 1999, ch. 512, § 2, eff from and after July 1, 1999.

§ 93-9-28. Procedures for voluntary acknowledgement of paternity.

(1) The Mississippi Department of Health in cooperation with the Mississippi Department of Human Services shall develop a form and procedure which may be used to secure a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity from the mother and father of any child born out of wedlock in Mississippi. The form shall clearly state on its face that the execution of the acknowledgement of paternity shall result in the same legal effect as if the father and mother had been married at the time of the birth of the child. When such form has been completed according to the established procedure and the signatures of both the mother and father have been notarized, then such voluntary acknowledgement shall constitute a full determination of the legal parentage of the child. The completed voluntary acknowledgement of paternity shall be filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the Mississippi Department of Health. The name of the father shall be entered on the certificate of birth upon receipt of the completed voluntary acknowledgement.

(2) (a) A signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity is subject to the right of any signatory to rescind the acknowledgment within the earlier of:

(i) Sixty (60) days; or

(ii) The date of a judicial proceeding relating to the child, including a proceeding to establish a support order, in which the signatory is a party.

(b) After the expiration of the sixty-day period specified in subsection (2) (a) (i) of this section, a signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity may be challenged in court only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof upon the challenger; the legal responsibilities, including child support obligations, of any signatory arising from the acknowledgment may not be suspended during the pendency of the challenge, except for good cause shown.

(3) The Mississippi Department of Health and the Mississippi Department of Human Services shall cooperate to establish procedures to facilitate the voluntary acknowledgement of paternity by both father and mother at the time of the birth of any child born out of wedlock. Such procedures shall establish responsibilities for each of the departments and for hospitals, birthing centers, midwives, and/or other birth attendants to seek and report voluntary acknowledgements of paternity. In establishing such procedures, the departments shall provide for obtaining the Social Security account numbers of both the father and mother on voluntary acknowledgements.

(4) Upon the birth of a child out of wedlock, the hospital, birthing center, midwife or other birth attendant shall provide an opportunity for the child’s mother and natural father to complete an acknowledgement of paternity by giving the mother and natural father the appropriate forms and information developed through the procedures established in paragraph (3). The hospital, birthing center, midwife or other birth attendant shall be responsible for providing printed information, and audio visual material if available, related to the acknowledgement of paternity, and shall be required to provide notary services needed for the completion of acknowledgements of paternity. The information described above shall be provided to the mother and natural father, if present and identifiable, within twenty-four (24) hours of birth or before the mother is released. Such information, including forms, brochures, pamphlets, video tapes and other media, shall be provided at no cost to the hospital, birthing center or midwife by the Mississippi State Department of Health, the Department of Human Services or other appropriate agency. Sources: Laws, 1994, ch. 544, § 1; Laws, 1999, ch. 512, § 11, eff from and after July 1, 1999.

§ 93-9-73. Dying declarations of mother.

In all bastardy proceedings when the mother is dead, her declarations in her travail, proved to be her dying declarations, may, on the trial of the case, be received in evidence. Sources: Codes, 1892, § 257; 1906, § 276; Hemingway’s 1917, § 225; 1930, § 187; 1942, § 391.

Required Probability of Paternity for Mississippi Courts: 98%
Required Paternity Index: None

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