How Do Paternity Test Laws Work Between States?

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How do I establish my parental rights if the mother of my child moved to Utah before the baby was born?

We were never married, the child doesn’t have my last name and I need to know about paternity test laws between states.

Matt Rowland
New Mexico divorce attorney Matt Rowland


Paternity statutes (laws) vary from state to state. In New Mexico, we have something called the New Mexico Uniform Parentage Act. In our state, a person can file a petition to determine parentage to resolve the paternity issue.

In New Mexico, a parent who has not signed an Acknowledgment of Paternity can still be adjudicated as the child’s parent, and a new birth certificate can be issued to reflect the child’s new last name. Sometimes, paternity cases require genetic testing to determine paternity and courts have the power to order genetic testing.

In New Mexico, we can also resolve custody and visitation issues in a paternity case. Our law dictates where a paternity case must be filed. Likewise, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”) has been adopted by almost all states (the lone exception being Massachusetts). Generally speaking, a state can make an initial child custody determination if that state is the child’s “home state.”

In New Mexico, the court has jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination if the child has been living in New Mexico for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the filing of a petition. Consider this example: If a child lives in New Mexico for the first 3 months of the child’s life and then the child is moved out of New Mexico with the other parent, New Mexico would arguably have jurisdiction to enter a child custody order because the child has not lived in the other State for six months. There are exceptions; however, this is a general rule.

Paternity and child custody jurisdiction issues can become complex, so I would advise you to consult a local domestic relations attorney to advise you on how to best proceed.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than general divorce tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including New Mexico divorce lawyer Matt Rowland, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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