What is the test for determining the paternity of a child?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from Monterey Cnty. Dep't of Child Support Servs. v. P.H., H043351 (Cal. App. 2019):

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." (Italics added.) Although found in the Family Code rather than the Code of Civil Procedure, the provision of section 7551 allowing the trial court to resolve paternity against a party who refuses to comply with genetic testing orders effectively serves as a discovery sanction; "it establishes procedures by which information can be obtained in a civil action and it provides sanctions for refusal to supply the information." (County of El Dorado v. Schneider (1987) 191 Cal.App.3d 1263, 1272 (Schneider) [addressing former Evidence Code section 892, a nearly identical predecessor to section 7551].) We review discovery sanctions under the abuse of discretion standard: "We will affirm the sanction order unless it is arbitrary, capricious, whimsical, or demonstrates a ' "manifest abuse exceeding the bounds of reason. . . ." ' [Citations.]" (In re Marriage of Chakko (2004) 115 Cal.App.4th 104, 108.) "We review any findings of fact that formed the basis for the award of sanctions under a substantial evidence standard of review." (In re Marriage of Feldman (2007) 153 Cal.App.4th 1470, 1479.)

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