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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. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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