Appellate judges disagree about dismissal of paternity petition

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court in dismissing a paternity petition, but one judge dissented, saying the ruling now leaves the child with no legally recognized father.

In In the Matter of the Paternity of S.C.; K.C. v. C.C. and B.H., No. 30A01-1107-JP-322, CC. and B.H. had disputed who was father of S.C., a child born to mother K.C. in 2008.

K.C. and C.C. began dating in high school, and both knew B.H. At some point, K.C. had a sexual relationship with B.H., and in 2007, she was at B.H.’s house when she learned she was pregnant.

K.C. told C.C. about the pregnancy and said she believed he was the father, although she wondered if the child might be B.H.’s. She ended her relationship with B.H., and C.C. was with her when she gave birth.

On July 29, 2008, B.H. filed a verified petition for immediate paternity order in the Fayette Circuit Court, alleging he was S.C.’s father, requesting an order that the mother and S.C. submit to a DNA test, and asking that it be performed before K.C. and S.C.’s discharge from the hospital.

K.C. and S.C. submitted to blood tests, and on Aug. 4, 2008, the DNA Diagnostic Center in Fairfield, Ohio issued a DNA test report indicating a 99.9997% probability that B.H. was S.C.’s biological father.

K.C. and B.H. received the DNA test results in October. About a week later, C.C., pro se, and on behalf of S.C., filed a verified petition to establish paternity in the Hancock Circuit Court. He alleged that he was S.C.’s father based upon a July 30 paternity affidavit he and K.C. created. On Oct. 22, the Hancock Circuit Court issued an order establishing C.C.’s paternity; the Fayette Circuit Court held a hearing on B.H.’s paternity action, ultimately dismissing it, holding that it was not a petition for paternity, but rather a petition to require DNA testing.  

On June 25, 2010, B.H., by counsel, filed his verified petition for relief of judgment for fraud upon the court (the petition for relief) in the Hancock Circuit Court, alleging that C.C.’s paternity order was obtained through fraud. The Hancock Circuit Court granted B.H.’s petition, holding – among other findings – the mother had suspected the child might be B.H.’s and that her lawyer had not notified B.H. of the petition for paternity that C.C. had filed in Hancock County.

The COA affirmed the court’s decision to set aside C.C.’s paternity petition, writing, “We reiterate that this decision does not leave S.C. without a father and Mother without options. Even assuming that the July 31, 2008 DNA test was faulty or legally inadmissible, the parties are free to have another test performed and do what they will depending upon those results, including the pursuit of support proceedings against B.H. or the initiation of adoption proceedings by C.C.”

But Judge Patricia Riley dissented, writing, “All that has occurred here is the judicially imposed removal of that obligation since B.H. has not been legally recognized as S.C.’s father. This leads to an unjust result whereby B.H. is free to abandon his claim to S.C.’s paternity leaving S.C. with no one obliged to support her.”



Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  2. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  3. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  4. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?

  5. Research by William J Federer Chief Justice John Marshall commented May 9, 1833, on the pamphlet The Relation of Christianity to Civil Government in the United States written by Rev. Jasper Adams, President of the College of Charleston, South Carolina (The Papers of John Marshall, ed. Charles Hobson, Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2006, p, 278): "Reverend Sir, I am much indebted to you for the copy of your valuable sermon on the relation of Christianity to civil government preached before the convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Charleston, on the 13th of February last. I have read it with great attention and advantage. The documents annexed to the sermon certainly go far in sustaining the proposition which it is your purpose to establish. One great object of the colonial charters was avowedly the propagation of the Christian faith. Means have been employed to accomplish this object, and those means have been used by government..." John Marshall continued: "No person, I believe, questions the importance of religion to the happiness of man even during his existence in this world. It has at all times employed his most serious meditation, and had a decided influence on his conduct. The American population is entirely Christian, and with us, Christianity and Religion are identified. It would be strange, indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations with it. Legislation on the subject is admitted to require great delicacy, because freedom of conscience and respect for our religion both claim our most serious regard. You have allowed their full influence to both. With very great respect, I am Sir, your Obedt., J. Marshall."