§584-13 Pretrial recommendations. (a) On the basis of the information produced at the pre-trial hearing, the judge conducting the hearing shall evaluate the probability of determining the existence or nonexistence of the father and child relationship in a trial and whether a judicial declaration of the relationship would be in the best interest of the child. On the basis of the evaluation, an appropriate recommendation for settlement shall be made to the parties, which may include any of the following:
(1) That the action be dismissed with or without prejudice;
(2) That the matter be compromised by an agreement among the alleged father, the mother, and the child, in which the father and child relationship is not determined but in which a defined economic obligation is undertaken by the alleged father in favor of the child and, if appropriate, in favor of the mother, subject to approval by the judge conducting the hearing. In reviewing the obligation undertaken by the alleged father in a compromise agreement, the judge conducting the hearing shall consider the best interest of the child, in the light of the factors enumerated in section 576D-7, discounted by the improbability, as it appears to him, of establishing the alleged father's paternity or nonpaternity of the child in a trial of the action. In the best interest of the child, the court may order that the alleged father's identity be kept confidential. In that case, the court may designate a person or agency to receive from the alleged father and disburse on behalf of the child all amounts paid by the alleged father in fulfillment of obligations imposed on him; or
(3) That the alleged father voluntarily acknowledge his paternity of the child.
(b) If the parties accept a recommendation made in accordance with subsection (a), judgment shall be entered accordingly.
(c) If a party refuses to accept a recommendation made under subsection (a) and genetic tests, including blood tests have not been taken, the court shall require the parties to submit to genetic tests, if practicable. Thereafter the judge shall make an appropriate final recommendation. If a party refuses to accept the final recommendation, the action shall be set for trial.
(d) The guardian ad litem may accept or refuse to accept a recommendation under this section.
(e) The informal hearing may be terminated and the action set for trial if the judge conducting the hearing finds it unlikely that all parties would accept a recommendation he might make under subsection (a) or (c). [L 1975, c 66, pt of §1; am L 1989, c 34, §3]
In subsection (a)(2), reference to "576D-7" substituted for "584-15(e)".
The language of subsection (c) conditioning genetic testing on such testing being "practicable" refers only to the practical aspects of completing the testing and does not permit the family court to consider the "best interest of the child" in deciding whether to order testing in the first place. 99 H. 1, 52 P.3d 255 (2002).
In a paternity action, §584-10 and this section mandate that an informal, pre-trial hearing be held by the court to evaluate the likelihood of establishing at trial the alleged father as the natural father, to determine whether declaring paternity would be in the best interest of the child, and to recommend settlement to the parties; such a hearing is not required before a court may order genetic testing of the parties. 88 H. 159 (App.), 963 P.2d 1135 (1998).