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Child must show she is born out of wedlock to inherit

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Ruling on the issue for the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the plain language of Indiana Code Section 29-1-2-7 requires a child to show she is born out of wedlock for inheritance purposes.

There have been other cases that appear to support the claim a child must show she’s born out of wedlock before application of I.C. Section 29-1-2-7(b), which governs the paternal inheritance to, through, and from children born out of wedlock, but none addressed the issues specifically, noted Judge Nancy Vaidik.

In Victor C. Regalado v. Estate of Joseph Regalado and Paula Heffelfinger, No. 64A05-0911-CV-672, the appellate court unanimously reversed summary judgment for Paula Heffelfinger in Victor Regalado’s petition to determine heirship, which alleged she was not Joseph Regalado’s half-sister. Joseph Regalado received a $15 million settlement from the City of Chicago in 2000 and died intestate in 2004.

His father, Baltasar, had married Heffelfinger’s mother in 2003, when Heffelfinger was 35 years old. They later annulled the marriage in 2005. In the agreement order of annulment, which dealt with property settlement, Baltasar acknowledged Heffelfinger as his biological daughter.

Heffelfinger designated the annulment order, Baltasar’s unsworn July 2003 petition for leave to make gifts in guardianship, which identifies her as Joseph’s sister, a 2003 birthday card he signed as “dad,” a 2004 sworn petition for the appointment of administrator, which identifies her as Joseph’s half-sister, and a 2007 siblingship report stating Heffelfinger and another brother, Tony, have a 98.1 percent probability of being half-siblings.

I.C. Section 29-1-2-7(b)(4) applies to the instant case, which requires for Heffelfinger to inherit from Joseph that the putative father marries the mother of the child and acknowledges the child to be his own.

The designated evidence was sufficient to show that Baltasar acknowledged Heffelfinger as his biological daughter. However, she was unable to show that she was a child born out of wedlock. To be born out of wedlock, the mother must be unmarried when the child is born or married when the child is born, but not to the child’s biological father.

Heffelfinger didn’t show her mother’s marital status at the time of her birth. Baltasar’s acknowledgment of Heffelfinger alone doesn’t establish him as her biological father, wrote Judge Vaidik. There is a marriage, but bare acknowledgement of paternity. In addition, the siblingship report only shows a 98.1 percent probability she is the half-sibling of Tony. Under the statute controlling paternity, if the result of the test is at least a 99 percent probability the man is the father, then it’s presumed he is the biological father.

The judges also rejected Heffelfinger’s argument that Baltasar’s acknowledgment of her in the 2005 annulment order is definitive in establishing paternity. It appears her argument is one of collateral estoppel. The parties’ acknowledgment of Heffelfinger as Baltasar’s biological daughter is gratuitous because the subject matter of the order is a property settlement and because the annulment court will never determine issues of custody and support for Heffelfinger, wrote the judge. The court remanded for further proceedings.
 

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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