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Divided high court affirms DNA unnecessary to establish paternity

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Indiana Supreme Court justices split 3-2 in affirming that DNA evidence is not required to establish paternity.

Justices issued a published order Thursday in In RE the Paternity of I.B.: K.H. v. I.B., b/n/f L.B., 34A02-1305-JP-401, denying transfer of a Howard Circuit ruling affirmed by the Court of Appeals. The order ends the appeal.

The Supreme Court held oral argument on whether to accept the appeal of K.H., who argued that the trial court lacked sufficient evidence to prove that he is the biological father. The court also ordered K.H. to pay child support after issuing findings that “provided by a preponderance of evidence, if not clearly and convincingly that … K.H. is the biological father of I.B.”

The child was born after mother L.B.’s marriage to C.B. dissolved, and both stipulated that C.B. was not I.B.’s father. K.H. appealed, arguing the trial court erred in concluding that L.B. had rebutted the statutory presumption that C.B. is I.B’s father in the absence of DNA evidence.

Justices Steven David, Mark Massa and Robert Rucker formed the majority that ordered to deny transfer of K.H.’s appeal without opinion, but Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote a dissent joined by Justice Loretta Rush.

“I respectfully dissent from the denial of transfer and would prefer for this Court to address whether DNA evidence should be required whenever a child may face the risk of losing the presumption of being the biological child of the birth mother’s husband,” Dickson wrote.

“I believe that in any proceeding in which the presumption of biological paternity is potentially impinged, DNA testing, if available, should be mandatory as the exclusive way of providing conclusive, direct, clear, and convincing evidence to rebut the presumption,” he wrote. “Without supporting DNA genetic evidence, courts should not make any judicial determination that a child’s biological father is someone other than the biological mother’s husband when the child was born. Nothing less should suffice.

“I would grant transfer so that this Court can consider adopting this new evidentiary requirement,” Dickson wrote.

 

 

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  4. Oh, and you fail to mention that you deprived the father of far FAR more time than he ever did you, even requiring officers to escort the children back into his care. Please, can you see that you had a huge part in "starting the war?" Patricia, i can't understand how painfully heartbreak ithis ordeal must have been for you. I read the appellate case and was surprised to see both sides of the story because your actions were harmful to your child; more so than the fathers. The evidence wasn't re weighed. It was properly reviewed for abuse of discretion as the trial court didn't consider whether a change of circumstance occurred or follow and define the statutes that led to their decision. Allowing a child to call a boyfriend "daddy" and the father by his first name is unacceptable. The first time custody was reversed to father was for very good reason. Self reflection in how you ultimately lost primary custody is the only way you will be able heal and move forward. Forgiveness of yourself comes after recognition and I truly hope you can get past the hurt and pain to allow your child the stability and care you recognized yourself that the father provides.

  5. Patricia, i can't understand how painfully heartbreak ithis ordeal must have been for you. I read the appellate case and was surprised to see both sides of the story because your actions were harmful to your child; more so than the fathers. The evidence wasn't re weighed. It was properly reviewed for abuse of discretion as the trial court didn't consider whether a change of circumstance occurred or follow and define the statutes that led to their decision. Allowing a child to call a boyfriend "daddy" and the father by his first name is unacceptable. The first time custody was reversed to father was for very good reason. Self reflection in how you ultimately lost primary custody is the only way you will be able heal and move forward. Forgiveness of yourself comes after recognition and I truly hope you can get past the hurt and pain to allow your child the stability and care you recognized yourself that the father provides.

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