1997 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Blackmon
House Bill 790
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 93-9-9, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE PATERNITY TO BE ESTABLISHED IF THE ALLEGED FATHER FAILS TO APPEAR IN ACTIONS IN WHICH THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES IS A PARTY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 93-9-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
93-9-9. (1) Paternity may be determined upon the petition of the mother, or father, the child or any public authority chargeable by law with the support of the child; provided that such an adjudication after the death of the defendant must be made only upon clear and convincing evidence. If paternity has been lawfully determined, or has been acknowledged in writing according to the laws of this state, the liabilities of the noncustodial parent may be enforced in the same or other proceedings by the custodial parent, the child, or any public authority which has furnished or may furnish the reasonable expenses of pregnancy, confinement, education, necessary support and maintenance, and medical or funeral expenses for the custodial parent or the child. However, proceedings hereunder shall not be instituted after the child has reached the age of eighteen (18) years. In the event of court determined paternity, the surname of the child shall be that of the father, unless the judgment specifies otherwise.
(2) If the alleged father in an action to determine paternity to which the Department of Human Services is a party fails to appear for a scheduled hearing after having been served with process or subsequent notice consistent with the Rules of Civil Procedure, his paternity of the children shall be established by the court if an affidavit sworn to by the mother averring the alleged father's paternity of the child has accompanied the complaint to determine paternity. Said affidavit shall constitute sufficient grounds for the court's finding of the alleged father's paternity without the necessity of the presence or testimony of the mother at the said hearing. The court shall, upon motion by the Department of Human Services, enter a judgment of paternity.
(3) Upon application of both parents to the State Board of Health and receipt by the State Board of Health of a sworn acknowledgement of paternity executed by both parents subsequent to the birth of a child born out of wedlock, the birth certificate of the child shall be amended to show such paternity if paternity is not shown on the birth certificate. Upon request of the parents for the legitimization of a child under this section, the surname of the child shall be changed on the certificate to that of the father.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.