An Act To Update Maine's Family Law
Sec. 1. 19-A MRSA c. 61 is enacted to read:
MAINE PARENTAGE ACT
SHORT TITLE, SCOPE, DEFINITIONS AND GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 1831. Short title
This chapter may be known and cited as "the Maine Parentage Act."
§ 1832. Definitions
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
§ 1833. Scope and application
§ 1834. Parentage proceeding
§ 1835. Standing to maintain proceeding
Subject to other provisions of this chapter, a proceeding to adjudicate parentage may be maintained by:
§ 1836. Parties to proceeding
In addition to a child whose parentage is to be adjudicated, all parents of the child must be joined as parties in a proceeding to adjudicate parentage.
§ 1837. Personal jurisdiction
§ 1838. Venue
Venue for a proceeding to adjudicate parentage is in the county or division in which:
§ 1839. Joinder of proceedings
§ 1840. Orders
§ 1841. Admission of parentage authorized
§ 1842. Order on default
The court may issue an order adjudicating the parentage of a person who is in default, as long as:
§ 1843. Order adjudicating parentage
§ 1844. Binding effect of determination of parentage
§ 1845. Full faith and credit
A court of this State shall give full faith and credit to a determination of parentage, including but not limited to an acknowledgment of paternity, from another state if the determination is valid and effective in accordance with the law of the other state.
ESTABLISHMENT OF PARENTAGE
§ 1851. Establishment of parentage
Parentage may be established by:
§ 1852. Nondiscrimination
Every child has the same rights under law as any other child without regard to the marital status or gender of the parents or the circumstances of the child's birth.
§ 1853. Consequences of establishment of parentage
§ 1854. Determination of maternity
Provisions of this chapter relating to determination of paternity may apply to determination of maternity as needed to determine parentage consistent with this chapter.
§ 1855. No limitation on child
Nothing in this subchapter limits the right of a child to bring an action to adjudicate parentage.
VOLUNTARY ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF PATERNITY
§ 1861. Acknowledgment of paternity
The woman who gives birth to a child and a man, not her spouse, claiming to be the genetic father of the child may sign an acknowledgment of paternity with intent to establish paternity.
§ 1862. Execution of acknowledgment of paternity
(1) There is no other presumed parent of the child or, if there is another presumed parent, state that parent's full name; and
(2) There is no other acknowledged father and no adjudicated parent of the child other than the woman giving birth;
§ 1863. Denial of parentage
A person presumed to be a parent under section 1881 may execute a denial of parentage only in the limited circumstances set forth in this section. A denial of parentage is valid only if:
§ 1864. Filing of an acknowledgment of paternity and related denial of parentage
§ 1865. Equivalent to adjudication
§ 1866. No filing fee
The State Registrar of Vital Statistics may not charge a fee for filing an acknowledgment of paternity or denial of parentage under section 1864.
§ 1867. Proceeding for rescission
A signatory may rescind an acknowledgment of paternity or denial of parentage under this subchapter by commencing a proceeding to rescind before the earlier of:
§ 1868. Challenge to acknowledgment
§ 1869. Procedure for rescission or challenge
§ 1870. Ratification not permitted
A court or administrative agency conducting a judicial or administrative proceeding may not ratify an unchallenged acknowledgment of paternity under section 1861.
§ 1871. Forms for acknowledgment and denial of paternity
To facilitate compliance with this subchapter, the State Registrar of Vital Statistics shall prescribe forms for the acknowledgment of paternity and the denial of parentage. A valid acknowledgment of paternity or denial of parentage is not affected by a later modification of the prescribed form.
§ 1872. Release of information
The State Registrar of Vital Statistics may release information relating to an acknowledgment of paternity under section 1861 as provided in Title 22, section 2706.
§ 1873. Adoption of rules
The State Registrar of Vital Statistics may adopt rules to implement this subchapter. Rules adopted pursuant to this section are routine technical rules for the purposes of Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.
§ 1881. Presumption of parentage
§ 1882. Challenge to presumed parent
§ 1883. Multiple presumptions
If 2 or more conflicting presumptions arise under this subchapter, the court shall adjudicate parentage and determine parental rights and responsibilities in accordance with section 1653.
DE FACTO PARENTAGE
§ 1891. De facto parentage
§ 1901. Scope of subchapter
This subchapter governs procedures and requirements of genetic testing and genetic testing results of an individual to determine parentage and adjudication of parentage based on genetic testing, whether the individual voluntarily submits to testing or is tested pursuant to an order of the court or the department.
§ 1902. Requirements for genetic testing
(1) If the frequencies are not available to the testing laboratory for the genetic population groups requested, provide the requested frequencies compiled in a manner recognized by an accrediting body under subsection 1; or
(2) Engage another accredited testing laboratory to perform the calculations.
§ 1903. Report of genetic testing
§ 1904. Genetic testing results
(1) That the man has at least a 99% probability of paternity, using a prior probability of 0.50, as calculated by using the paternity index obtained in the testing; and
(2) A paternity index of at least 100 to 1; and
(1) That the woman has at least a 99% probability of maternity, using a prior probability of at least 0.50, as calculated by using the maternity index obtained in the testing; and
(2) A maternity index of at least 100 to 1.
§ 1905. Costs of genetic testing
§ 1906. Additional genetic testing
The court shall order additional genetic testing upon the request of a party who contests the result of the initial testing. If the initial genetic testing identified a person as the genetic father or genetic mother of the child under section 1904, the court or agency may not order additional testing unless the party provides advance payment for the testing.
§ 1907. Genetic testing when specimens not available
§ 1908. Deceased person
For good cause shown, the court may order genetic testing of a deceased person.
§ 1909. Identical sibling
§ 1910. Confidentiality of genetic testing
§ 1911. Court order for testing
§ 1912. Authority to deny requested order for genetic testing or admission of test results
§ 1913. Admissibility of results of genetic testing; expenses
§ 1914. Consequences of declining genetic testing
§ 1915. Adjudication of parentage based on genetic testing
(1) If genetic testing results pursuant to section 1904 exclude a person as the genetic parent of a child, the court shall find that person is not a genetic parent of the child and may not adjudicate the person as the child's parent on the basis of genetic testing; and
(2) If genetic testing results pursuant to section 1904 identify a person as the genetic parent of a child, the court shall find that person to be the genetic parent and may adjudicate the person as the child's parent, unless otherwise provided by this chapter.
PARENTAGE BY ASSISTED REPRODUCTION
§ 1921. Scope of subchapter
This subchapter does not apply to the birth of a child conceived by means other than assisted reproduction.
§ 1922. Parental status of donor
§ 1923. Parentage of child of assisted reproduction
A person who provides gametes for and consents to or a person who consents to assisted reproduction by a woman as provided in section 1924 with the intent to be the parent of a resulting child is a parent of the resulting child.
§ 1924. Consent to assisted reproduction
§ 1925. Challenge by spouse to consent
§ 1926. Effect of dissolution of marriage or withdrawal of consent
§ 1927. Parent status of deceased person
If a person who consented in a signed record under section 1924 to be a parent by assisted reproduction dies before transfer or implantation of gametes or embryos, the deceased person is not a parent of the resulting child unless the deceased person consented in a signed record that, if assisted reproduction were to occur after death, the deceased person would be a parent of the child.
§ 1928. Birth orders
§ 1929. Laboratory error
If due to a laboratory error the resulting child is not genetically related to either of the intended parents, the intended parents are the parents of the child unless otherwise determined by the court.
GESTATIONAL CARRIER AGREEMENT
§ 1931. Eligibility to enter gestational carrier agreement
§ 1932. Gestational carrier agreement authorized
(1) The gestational carrier:
(a) Must undergo assisted reproduction and attempt to carry and give birth to any resulting child;
(b) Has no claim to parentage of all resulting children to the intended parent or parents immediately upon the birth of the child or children regardless of whether a court order has been issued at the time of birth; and
(c) Must acknowledge the exclusive parentage of the intended parent or parents of all resulting children;
(2) If the gestational carrier is married, her spouse:
(a) Must acknowledge and agree to abide by the obligations imposed on the gestational carrier by the terms of the gestational carrier agreement;
(b) Has no claim to parentage of any resulting children to the intended parent or parents immediately upon the birth of the children regardless of whether a court order has been issued at the time of birth; and
(c) Must acknowledge the exclusive parentage of the intended parent or parents of all resulting children;
(3) The gestational carrier has the right to use the services of a health care provider of her choosing to provide her care during her pregnancy;
(4) The intended parent or parents must:
(a) Be the exclusive parent or parents and accept parental rights and responsibilities of all resulting children immediately upon birth regardless of the number, gender or mental or physical condition of the child or children; and
(b) Assume responsibility for the financial support of all resulting children immediately upon the birth of the children; and
(5) All parties must provide records related to the medical evaluations conducted pursuant to section 1931, subsection 2, paragraph A.
§ 1933. Parentage; parental rights and responsibilities
If a gestational carrier agreement satisfies the requirements of this chapter:
§ 1934. Birth orders
§ 1935. Exclusive, continuing jurisdiction
Subject to the jurisdictional standards of section 1745, the court conducting a proceeding under this subchapter has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction of all matters arising out of the gestational carrier agreement until a child born to the gestational carrier during the period governed by the agreement attains the age of 180 days.
§ 1936. Termination of gestational carrier agreement
§ 1937. Effect of subsequent marriage
§ 1938. Effect of noncompliance; standard of review; remedies
Sec. 2. Effective date. This Act takes effect July 1, 2016.
This bill offers an updated, comprehensive statutory framework for determining a child's legal parentage. It is patterned after, and follows in part, the Uniform Parentage Act, a uniform law initially developed in 1973 and most recently updated in 2002 by the Uniform Law Commission. Even though the bill adopts portions of the Uniform Parentage Act, it is sufficiently different from the Uniform Parentage Act overall that the chapter of statute the bill enacts merits its own, distinct title, "the Maine Parentage Act."
The Maine Parentage Act is organized into 8 subchapters. Subchapter 1 provides definitions of key terms. It authorizes actions to adjudicate legal parentage and establishes the parameters for such actions. Subchapter 2 is the hub of the bill. It organizes and lists in one place the grounds upon which legal parentage may be based. They are: birth, adoption, voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, unrebutted presumption of parentage, de facto parentage, genetic parentage, consent to assisted reproduction and consent through a valid gestational carrier agreement. The six subchapters that follow address individual grounds for parentage.
The bill confirms a number of grounds for parentage under current law and in several instances proposes amendments to clarify and update the law with respect to these grounds. For example, it updates the standards applicable to genetic testing to reflect current science and practice; provides more detailed procedures for use of the voluntary acknowledgment of paternity process in suitable cases; and codifies a traditional presumption of parentage in the legal spouse of the mother, which is only found now in a rule of evidence. The bill also codifies the de facto parent doctrine, now firmly established by case law, to require an explicit determination of standing as a prerequisite for maintaining an action, recognize the elevated burden of proof that a person claiming such status must satisfy and clarify the elements of proof so as to address some practical problems encountered by practitioners and courts under the case law.
The bill recognizes and clarifies the legal parentage of children born to parents who use medical assisted reproduction as well as children born by means of assisted reproduction in conjunction with a gestational carrier. Clear statutory guidelines and requirements serve to regulate usage, protect the rights of parties and reduce reliance on judicial actions in this area.
Finally, consistent with the Uniform Parentage Act and legislation in a number of other states, the bill recognizes the presumption of parentage in an unmarried partner of the mother who lives with the mother at the time of birth and holds out the child as that person's own for 2 years from birth.
A more detailed summary of the bill is provided in Appendix B to the Family Law Advisory Commission Report to Maine Legislature Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary, pursuant to Resolve 2014, c. 83 on Proposed "Maine Parentage Act" dated December 15, 2014.
The effective date is July 1, 2016.