ILNews

Court examines statute about paternity, child support

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • 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 - http://true-equality.110mb.com/reports/CSPIA_Abuses_Report.pdf
  • 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

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
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
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. He did not have an "unlicensed handgun" in his pocket. Firearms are not licensed in Indiana. He apparently possessed a handgun without a license to carry, but it's not the handgun that is licensed (or registered).

  2. Once again, Indiana's legislature proves how friendly it is to monopolies. This latest bill by Hershman demonstrates the lengths Indiana's representatives are willing to go to put big business's (especially utilities') interests above those of everyday working people. Maassal argues that if the technology (solar) is so good, it will be able to compete on its own. Too bad he doesn't feel the same way about the industries he represents. Instead, he wants to cut the small credit consumers get for using solar in order to "add a 'level of certainty'" to his industry. I haven't heard of or seen such a blatant money-grab by an industry since the days when our federal, state, and local governments were run by the railroad. Senator Hershman's constituents should remember this bill the next time he runs for office, and they should penalize him accordingly.

  3. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  4. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  5. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

ADVERTISEMENT