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Arkansas Code Title 9. Family Law § 9-27-342. Paternity and support actions

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(a) Absent orders of a circuit court or another court of competent jurisdiction to the contrary, the biological mother, whether adult or minor, of a juvenile for whom paternity has not been established is deemed to be the natural guardian of that juvenile and is entitled to the care, custody, and control of that juvenile.

(b) The biological mother, the putative father, the juvenile himself or herself, or the Office of Child Support Enforcement of the Revenue Division of the Department of Finance and Administration may bring an action to establish paternity or support of a juvenile for whom paternity has not been established.

(c)(1) If the juvenile is not born when the parties appear before the court, the court may hear evidence and issue temporary orders and findings pending the birth of the juvenile.

(2) In the event the final order is contrary to the temporary one, the court shall render judgment for the amount paid under the temporary order against the petitioner if such was the biological mother.

(3) If the mother dies before the final order, the action may be revived in the name of the juvenile, and the mother's testimony at the temporary hearing may be introduced in the final hearing.

(d) Upon an adjudication by the court that the putative father is the father of the juvenile, the court shall follow the same guidelines, procedures, and requirements as established by the laws of this state applicable to child support orders and judgments entered upon divorce.  The court may award court costs and attorney's fees.

(e) If paternity has been established in a court of competent jurisdiction, a father may petition the court in the county where the juvenile resides for custody of the juvenile.  The court may award custody to a father who has had paternity established if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that:

(1) He is a fit parent to raise the juvenile;

(2) He has assumed his responsibilities toward the juvenile by providing care, supervision, protection, and financial support for the juvenile;  and

(3) It is in the best interest of the juvenile to award custody to the father.

(f) At the request of either party in a paternity action, the trial court shall direct that the putative father, biological mother, and juvenile submit to one (1) or more blood tests or other scientific examinations or tests, including deoxyribonucleic acid typing, to determine whether or not the putative father can be excluded as being the father of the juvenile and to establish the probability of paternity if the test does not exclude the putative father.

(g) The tests shall be made by a duly qualified physician or physicians, or by another duly qualified person or persons, not to exceed three (3), to be appointed by the court.

(h)(1) The results of the tests shall be receivable in evidence.

(2)(A) A written report of the test results by the duly qualified expert performing the test, or by a duly qualified expert under whose supervision and direction the test and analysis have been performed, certified by an affidavit duly subscribed and sworn to by the expert before a notary public, may be introduced in evidence in illegitimacy actions without calling the expert as a witness.  If either party shall desire to question the expert, the party shall have the expert subpoenaed within a reasonable time prior to trial.

(B) If the results of the paternity tests establish a ninety-five percent (95%) or more probability of inclusion that the putative father is the biological father of the juvenile and after corroborating testimony of the mother in regard to access during the probable period of conception, this shall constitute a prima facie case of establishment of paternity and the burden of proof shall shift to the putative father to rebut such proof.

(3) The experts shall be subject to cross-examination by both parties after the court has caused them to disclose their findings.

(i) Whenever the court orders the blood tests to be taken and one (1) of the parties refuses to submit to the test, that fact shall be disclosed upon the trial unless good cause is shown to the contrary.

(j) The costs of the test and witness fees shall be taxed by the court as other costs in the case.

(k) Whenever it shall be relevant to the prosecution or the defense in a paternity action, blood tests that exclude third parties as the father of the juvenile shall be the same as set out in subsections (f) and (g) of this section.

(l) The refusal of a party to submit to a genetic or other ordered test is admissible at a hearing to determine paternity only as to the credibility of the party.

(m) If a male witness offers testimony indicating that his act of intercourse with the mother may have resulted in the conception of the juvenile, the court may require the witness to submit to genetic or other tests to determine whether he is the juvenile's father.

Cite this article: - Arkansas Code Title 9. Family Law § 9-27-342. Paternity and support actions - last updated January 01, 2020 |

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