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. I commend Joe for standing up to this tyrant attorney! You ask why? Well I’m one of David Steele victims. I was in desperate need of legal help to protect my child, David saw an opportunity, and he demanded I pay him $3000. Cash. As I received motions and orders from court he did nothing! After weeks of emails asking him to address the legal issues, he responded by saying he was “on vacation “and I should be so lucky to have “my attorney” reply. Finally after lie on top of lie I asked for a full refund, which he refused. He then sent me “bills” for things he never did, such as, his appearance in the case and later claimed he withdrew. He never filed one document / motion for my case! When I finally demanded he refund my money he then turn to threats which scared my family for our lives. It seem unreal we couldn’t believe this guy. I am now over $100,000 in debt digging out of the legal mess he caused my family. Later I was finally able to hire another law office. I met Joe and we worked diligently on my case. I soon learn Joe had a passion for helping people. As anyone who has been through a legal battle it is exhausting. Joe was always more than happy to help or address an issue. Joe was knowledgeable about all my concerns at the same time he was able to reduce the stress and anxieties of my case. He would stay late and come in early, he always went the extra mile to help in any way he could. I can only imagine what Joe and his family has been through, my prayers go out to him and all the victims.

  2. Steele did more than what is listed too. He purposely sought out to ruin me, calling potential employers and then lied about me alleging all kinds of things including kidnapping. None of his allegations were true. If you are in need of an ethical and very knowledgeable family law paralegal, perhaps someone could post their contact information. Ethics cannot be purchased, either your paralegal has them or they do not.

  3. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  4. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  5. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise