Superior Court of the Virgin Islands
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Rules Governing the
Superior Court of the Virgin Islands

Rule 104. Bastardy proceedings

(a) The person or official authorized by law to institute a proceeding to determine the paternity of a child born out of wedlock shall do so by complaint before the court. The court shall by examination of the mother on oath, and upon her testimony and such other testimony as may be offered, endeavor to ascertain who is the father of the illegitimate child or of the child likely to be born illegitimately. If good cause appear, the court shall then issue its warrant commanding the officer to whom it is directed, forthwith to apprehend the reputed father and to bring him before the court for the purpose of determining the filiation of the child.

(b) If the person charged as the reputed father shall be or reside in a judicial division of the territory other than that in which the warrant is issued, the judge issuing the warrant shall, by writing thereupon, direct the sum in which a bond shall be taken. The warrant may be executed at any place within the territory. The officer arresting the reputed father in a division other than the one in which the warrant was issued shall take the reputed father without unnecessary delay before a judge of the Territorial Court sitting in the division wherein the reputed father resides or is found. When the judge sitting in that division takes a bond from him and discharges him from arrest, he shall endorse upon the warrant a certificate to the effect and deliver the same, together with the bond, to the officer who brought the warrant. In the bond or recognizance, the judge shall state a time when the reputed father shall appear before the court in the judicial division in which the warrant was issued.

(c) When the reputed father appears or is brought before the court issuing the warrant, whether he was apprehended in the same or another division, that court shall proceed without unnecessary delay to examine into the matter. In every case the burden of proof shall be on the complainant, and the mother of the illegitimate child may be examined, on oath, in the presence of the reputed father touching the paternity of the child. In the order of filiation, the court shall fix the reasonable expenses of apprehending the father and of the costs of the proceeding for which he shall be liable.

(d) If sufficient reason appears, the court may adjourn the trial for any time not exceeding 6 weeks, except that where the complaint is filed before the birth of the child, the court may adjourn the trial for any time not exceeding 6 weeks subsequent to the birth of the child. If no bond has been given previously, the court shall take from the reputed father a bond if the same shall be tendered, conditioned for his appearance before the court, bearing sureties and in the penalty prescribed by law. If no bond is given, the court shall commit the reputed father to jail, there to remain until the day to which the proceeding is adjourned.--Amended May 28, 1957; May 27, 1965.

Statutory References

Establishing paternity, see 16 V.I.C. ' 291 et seq.

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