2019 Georgia Code
Title 19 - Domestic Relations
Chapter 7 - Parent and Child Relationship Generally
Article 3 - Determination of Paternity
§ 19-7-43. Petition; by whom brought; effect of agreement on right to bring petition; stay pending birth of child; court order for blood tests; genetic tests
(a) A petition to establish the paternity of a child may be brought by:
(1) The child;
(2) The mother of the child;
(3) Any relative in whose care the child has been placed;
(4) The Department of Human Services in the name of and for the benefit of a child for whom public assistance is received or in the name of and for the benefit of a child not the recipient of public services whose custodian has applied for services for the child; or
(5) One who is alleged to be the father.
(b) Regardless of its terms, an agreement, other than an agreement approved by the court in accordance with this article, between an alleged or presumed father and the mother or child does not bar a petition under this Code section.
(c) If a petition under this article is brought before the birth of the child, all proceedings shall be stayed until after the birth except service of process, discovery, and the taking of depositions.
(d) In any case in which the paternity of a child or children has not been established, the court, either on its own motion or on the motion of any party, may order the mother, the alleged father, and the child or children to submit to genetic tests as specified in Code Section 19-7-45. Such motion, if made by a party, shall be supported by a sworn statement alleging paternity and setting forth facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the requisite sexual contact between the parties or denying paternity and setting forth facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the nonexistence of sexual contact between the parties. Appropriate orders shall be issued by the court. The court shall grant a party's motion unless it finds a good excuse for noncooperation.
(e) In any case for the collection of child support involving the Department of Human Services in which the paternity of a child or children has not been established or in which the individual receiving services alleges that paternity rests in a person other than the previously established father, the Department of Human Services shall order genetic testing of the mother, the alleged father, and the child or children as specified in Code Section 19-7-45. No genetic testing shall be undertaken by the Department of Human Services if the child was adopted either by the applicant for services or other alleged parent or if the child was conceived by means of artificial insemination. The need for genetic testing shall be supported by a sworn statement alleging paternity and setting forth facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the requisite sexual contact between the parties. The parties shall be given notice and an opportunity to contest the order before the Department of Human Services prior to the testing or the imposition of any noncooperation sanction.
(f) In any case in which the court or the Department of Human Services orders genetic testing and one or both of the parties to the action is receiving child support services pursuant to Code Section 19-11-6, the Department of Human Services shall pay the costs of such tests subject to recoupment from the alleged father if paternity is established. If the genetic test excludes the possibility of the alleged father being the biological father, then the applicant for services who named the alleged father shall be liable to the Department of Human Services for reimbursement of the paternity testing fee. Upon completion of the first test, but prior to the entry of any order, a second genetic test shall be ordered if the person making the request tenders payment in full of the cost of the initial test as well as the cost of the second test at the time of the request. Any party who, after notice sent by mail to his or her last known address, fails to cooperate with paternity testing or fails to make any child available for paternity testing may be sanctioned by the Department of Human Services. Such sanctions may include but shall not be limited to loss of the opportunity for paternity testing, loss of state benefits, denial of services, and administrative case closure. The Department of Human Services may bring a petition for contempt in the event of such noncooperation in violation of any court order.
Code 1933, § 74-304, enacted by Ga. L. 1980, p. 1374, § 1; Ga. L. 1985, p. 279, § 3; Ga. L. 1997, p. 1613, § 17; Ga. L. 2002, p. 1247, § 4; Ga. L. 2009, p. 453, § 2-2/HB 228; Ga. L. 2015, p. 1433, § 1/HB 568; Ga. L. 2016, p. 304, § 6/SB 64.