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Adult son could file paternity, support petition

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A retroactive child support action brought by an adult child presented an issue of first impression for the Indiana Court of Appeals, which ruled the adult child could bring the action, but his mother would be the proper recipient of the retroactive payments.

In In Re: the paternity of: Brennan McGuire-Byers, a child born out of wedlock; Raymond S. Byers v. Brennan McGuire-Byers and Mary S. McGuire (mother), No. 71A03-0803-JV-132, Raymond Byers appealed the trial court's award of retroactive child support and attorney fees for his adult son, Brennan McGuire-Byers.

Mary McGuire and Byers were living together in Illinois in 1987 when McGuire-Byers was born, but after about a year Byers was no longer part of his son's life. He moved to Indiana but did not allow McGuire to know his location. He sent an occasional card or letter to his son but didn't pay child support.

McGuire-Byers found Byers while in high school and lived with him for about a year. In April 2006, he initiated a paternity proceeding, with his mother as a petitioner, against Byers, who was determined to be McGuire-Byers' father. The trial court ordered Byers to pay retroactive child support from the date of McGuire-Byers' birth, pay an arrearage of nearly $120,000, and pay one-third of McGuire-Byers' college expenses. The child support payments would end when McGuire-Byers turned 21. The trial court ordered the payments be made directly to McGuire-Byers.

Byers argued on appeal the retroactive child support order was improper because the paternity action was initiated by McGuire-Byers, an adult, in his own name. Under Indiana Code, McGuire-Byers could file the paternity petition in his individual capacity because he filed it before he turned 20, wrote Judge Michael Barnes. Retroactive child support was proper because the trial court found Byers was in McGuire-Byers' life for a year and would send him money and cards, signed, "Love, Dad." Byers knew he was McGuire-Byers' father but avoided responsibility, so it wasn't an error to award retroactive child support, wrote the judge.

McGuire-Byers shouldn't receive all of the retroactive child support payments, but as his mother, McGuire should be awarded the payments because she supported McGuire-Byers from the time of his birth. Because there is some question as to when McGuire stopped supporting McGuire-Byers, the appellate court remanded for the trial court to determine whether McGuire is entitled to payments from the time McGuire-Byers lived with Byers and whether she or McGuire-Byers is the proper recipient of the child support payments.

The Court of Appeals also affirmed the award of attorney's fees in favor of McGuire and remanded for the trial court to calculate the award of appellate attorney's fees for McGuire.

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  1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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