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COA: Surrogate can not petition to disestablish maternity

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A married woman who acted as a surrogate for another couple cannot petition to disestablish her maternity because it would cause the child to be “declared a child without a mother,” the Indiana Court of Appeals determined on interlocutory appeal.

The issue arose in In the Matter of the Paternity and Maternity of Infant T., 67A05-1301-JP-36, in which S.T. acted as a surrogate for M.F. She was implanted with an embryo fertilized by M.F.’s sperm and an unknown donor’s eggs and became pregnant. M.F.’s wife planned on adopting the child once it was born. M.F., S.T. and S.T.’s husband C.T. jointly filed an agreed petition with the Putman Circuit Court to establish M.F.’s paternity and disestablish S.T.’s maternity.

The trial court denied the petition and certified it for interlocutory appeal.

“We hold that S.T.’s petition to disestablish maternity is not cognizable. It would not be in the best interests of the child, and would be contrary to public policy, to allow the birth mother to have the child declared a child without a mother. And it would be inconsistent to allow for petitions to disestablish maternity when petitions to disestablish paternity are forbidden,” Judge Edward Najam wrote.

“However, our holding does not exclude the indirect disestablishment of maternity, such as in (In re Paternity & Maternity of Infant R., 922 N.E.2d 59, 60 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010)). The indirect disestablishment of maternity requires a putative mother to petition the court for the establishment of maternity and to prove her maternity by clear and convincing evidence, not simply by affidavit or stipulation. If the putative mother satisfies her burden of proof, the establishment of maternity in her would indirectly disestablish maternity in the birth mother. But we are not presented with facts demonstrating maternity in any woman other than S.T. Indiana law presumes the birth mother of a child is the child’s biological mother.”

The COA reversed the trial court’s denial of the petition regarding M.F., however. The Indiana Supreme Court has made clear that a joint stipulation between the birth mother and the putative father constitutes sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption that the woman’s husband is the father. Here, all the parties stipulated that M.F. is the biological father of the infant born in February 2013.

The appeals court remanded for the trial court to enter an order establishing M.F.’s paternity.

 

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  1. "So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)" Well, you know, we're just following in the footsteps of our founders who raped women, raped slaves, raped children, maimed immigrants, sold children, stole property, broke promises, broke apart families, killed natives... You know, good God fearing down home Christian folk! :/

  2. Who gives a rats behind about all the fluffy ranking nonsense. What students having to pay off debt need to know is that all schools aren't created equal and students from many schools don't have a snowball's chance of getting a decent paying job straight out of law school. Their lowly ranked lawschool won't tell them that though. When schools start honestly (accurately) reporting *those numbers, things will get interesting real quick, and the looks on student's faces will be priceless!

  3. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  4. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  5. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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