New Jersey Paternity Law
This page about New Jersey 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.
New Jersey Paternity Law: Section 9:17-43 Presumptions.
- a. A man is presumed to be the biological father of a child if:
(1)He and the child’s biological mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage, or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment or divorce;
(2)Before the child’s birth, he and the child’s biological mother have attempted to marry each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and:
(a)if the attempted marriage could be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage, or within 300 days after its termination by death, annulment or divorce; or
(b)if the attempted marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation;
(3)After the child’s birth, he and the child’s biological mother have married, or attempted to marry, each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and:
(a)he has acknowledged his paternity of the child in writing filed with the local registrar of vital statistics;
(b)he has sought to have his name placed on the child’s birth certificate as the child’s father, pursuant to R.S.26:8-40; or
(c)he openly holds out the child as his natural child; or
(d)he is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary agreement or court order;
(4)While the child is under the age of majority, he receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his natural child;
(5)While the child is under the age of majority, he provides support for the child and openly holds out the child as his natural child; or
(6)He acknowledges his paternity of the child in a writing filed with the local registrar of vital statistics, which shall promptly inform the mother of the filing of the acknowledgment, and she does not dispute the acknowledgment within a reasonable time after being informed thereof, in a writing filed with the local registrar. If another man is presumed under this section to be the child’s father, acknowledgment may be effected only with the written consent of the presumed father. Each attempted acknowledgment, whether or not effective, shall be kept on file by the local registrar of vital statistics and shall entitle the person who filed it to notice of all proceedings concerning parentage and adoption of the child, as provided in section 10 of P.L.1983, c.17 (C.9:17-47) and pursuant to section 9 of P.L.1977, c.367 (C.9:3-45).
b.A presumption under this section may be rebutted in an appropriate action only by clear and convincing evidence. If two or more presumptions arise which conflict with each other, the presumption which on the facts is founded on the weightier considerations of policy and logic controls. The presumption is rebutted by a court order terminating the presumed father’s paternal rights or by establishing that another man is the child’s biological or adoptive father.
c.Notwithstanding the provisions of this section to the contrary, in an action brought under this act against the legal representative or the estate of a deceased alleged father, the criteria in paragraphs (4) and (5) of subsection a. of this section shall not constitute presumptions but shall be considered by the court together with all of the evidence submitted. The decision of the court shall be based on a preponderance of the evidence.
d.In the absence of a presumption, the court shall decide whether the parent and child relationship exists, based upon a preponderance of the evidence.
e.There is a rebuttable presumption that a man has knowledge of his paternity and the birth of a child if he had sexual intercourse with the biological mother within 300 days of the child’s birth. This presumption may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence in an appropriate action based on fraud, duress, or misrepresentation by the biological mother concerning the paternity or birth of the child. This claim of fraud, duress, or misrepresentation must be asserted prior to the finalization of the adoption.
L.1983, c.17, s.6; amended 1998, c.20, s.4.
9:17-44. Artificial insemination
a. If, under the supervision of a licensed physician and with the consent of her husband, a wife is inseminated artificially with semen donated by a man not her husband, the husband is treated in law as if he were the natural father of a child thereby conceived. The husband’s consent shall be in writing and signed by him and his wife. The physician shall certify their signatures and the date of the insemination, upon forms provided by the Department of Health, and file the husband’s consent with the State Department of Health, where it shall be kept confidential and in a sealed file. However, the physician’s failure to do so shall not affect the father and child relationship. All papers and records pertaining to the insemination, whether part of the permanent record of a court or of a file held by the supervising physician or elsewhere, are subject to inspection only upon an order of the court for compelling reasons clearly and convincingly shown.
b. Unless the donor of semen and the woman have entered into a written contract to the contrary, the donor of semen provided to a licensed physician for use in artificial insemination of a woman other than the donor’s wife is treated in law as if he were not the father of a child thereby conceived and shall have no rights or duties stemming from the conception of a child.
L.1983, c. 17, s. 7.
9:17-45 Action to determine existence of parent-child relationship.
- a. A child, a legal representative of the child, the natural mother, the estate or legal representative of the mother, if the mother has died or is a minor, a man alleged or alleging himself to be the father, the estate or legal representative of the alleged father, if the alleged father has died or is a minor, the Division of Family Development in the Department of Human Services, or the county welfare agency, or any person with an interest recognized as justiciable by the court may bring or defend an action or be made a party to an action at any time for the purpose of determining the existence or nonexistence of the parent and child relationship.
b.No action shall be brought under P.L.1983, c.17 (C.9:17-38 et seq.) more than five years after the child attains the age of majority.
c.The death of the alleged father shall not cause abatement of any action to establish paternity, and an action to determine the existence or nonexistence of the parent and child relationship may be instituted or continued against the estate or the legal representative of the alleged father.
d.Regardless of its terms, an agreement, other than an agreement approved by the court in accordance with subsection c. of section 11 of P.L.1983, c.17 (C.9:17-48) between an alleged or presumed father and the mother of the child, shall not bar an action under this section.
e.If an action under this section is brought before the birth of the child, all proceedings shall be stayed until after the birth, except service of process and the taking of depositions to perpetuate testimony. The court may consider the issue of medical expenses and may order the alleged father to pay the reasonable expenses of the mother’s pregnancy and postpartum disability. Bills for pregnancy, childbirth and genetic testing are admissible as evidence without requiring third party foundation testimony, and shall constitute prima facie evidence of the amounts incurred for such services or for testing on behalf of the child.
f.This section does not extend the time within which a right of inheritance or a right to succession may be asserted beyond the time provided by law relating to distribution and closing of decedents’ estates or to the determination of heirship, or otherwise, or limit any time period for the determination of any claims arising under the laws governing probate, including the construction of wills and trust instruments.
L.1983,c.17,s.8; amended 1997, c.376, s.2; 1998, c.1, s.39
Required Probability of Paternity for New Jersey Courts: 95%
Required Paternity Index: None
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