Court examines statute about paternity, child support

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The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on a matter of first impression today, analyzing a specific state statute relating to how a court can cancel child support arrearage after a man’s paternity is vacated based on new genetic testing.

In the case of In Re Paternity of D.L., C.L. v. Y.B., No. 88A01-1002-JP-224, the appellate panel unanimously reversed a decision by Washington Circuit Judge Robert Bennett involving a man’s paternity and child support arrangement for a child born in 1993 out of wedlock.

The mother, Y.B., had brought a paternity action against C.L. a few years after the child’s birth and he admitted to being the father, putting in motion the child support arrangement for both D.L. and a younger brother. They shared financial costs of raising both children and the mother maintained regular visitation, and eventually when there was some modification of custody and child support they agreed to genetic testing that determined C.L. wasn’t actually D.L.’s biological father.

At the time, D.L. owed about $9,000 in child support arrearage and he argued that the trial court should allow him to be relieved of that amount. The mother, represented by the prosecutor and ultimately the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, argued that this would constitute a retroactive modification of child support. The trial court declined to grant relief based on that.

On appeal, the state cited Indiana Code 31-16-16-6 that provides courts generally do not have authority to retroactively modify an obligor’s duty to pay a delinquent child support payment. But the appellate court disagreed with that being a fair characterization of D.L.’s request, and it instead looked to IC 31-14-11-23 – a statute that no Indiana appellate court has applied since its inception in 1994. That statute says a man’s child support obligation and any arrearage terminates if a court vacates his paternity based on fraud or mistake of fact.

Neither party cited that statute in this appeal, but the appellate panel found it clearly supports its determination to reverse the trial judge and terminate C.L.’s arrearage for D.L.

The appellate panel noted that the record in this case shows the trial judge was concerned about the parents “stumbling” across the new paternity findings, and that issue was one dealt with in a previous line of cases beginning with Fairrow v. Fairrow, 559 N.E. 2d 597, 600 (Ind. 1990). But that Fairrow ruling came down before the addition of IC 31-14-11-23 in 1994, and so it involves a different paternity issue than the one challenged here.

Since this decision doesn’t affect C.L.’s obligation to pay the child support arrearage relating to the younger brother, the appellate panel remanded the case so the trial court can calculate the amount C.L. owes there.


  • Indiana child support interest rate violates Federal law
    I have a question. Why is it that Indiana charges 1-1/2 percent interest per month on child support arrears when 42 US Code 654(21)(a) states that a state may charge no more than 6-percent annual interest. Did the legislators who enacted this law sleep through their History or Law class on the Supremacy clause in the Constitution?
  • paternity fraud
    Could it be that the courts are unwilling to modify or vacate child suport awards in cases of paternity fraud is the loss of income to the state under the Child Support Performance Incentive Act?

    Suggested reading -
  • Mom's crime
    This is a victory for mens rights. Women who knowingly accuse/claim men to the fathers when they obviously know differently (or at least know of the possiblilty there of)should be arrested for fraud, and extorsion. The sad thing is that innocent children suffer from the misdeeds of their mother

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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.