Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Paternity: New Case on Setting Aside Paternity Order

Anyone thinking of signing a paternity affidavit needs to read IN RE THE MATTER OF THE
(PDF format). Or anyone thinking of trying to set aside a paternity order.

The Indiana Court of Appeals published its decision on December 14, 2007. Here we had a putative father with mental health issues agreeing that he was the father. He even signed "an accompanying form in which he waived 'now and forever' his right to counsel and his right to request blood testing to establish paternity.... " (Anyone else find that kind of waiver so grossly unfair that it raises your blood pressure?). Father then screwed it all up by going out and getting a genetic test showing he was not the biological father. He transgressed against Fairrow v. Fairrow, 559 N.E.2d 597 (Ind. 1990).

Fairrow began what I call our cuckoo cases. Not because they are nuts because the cukoo bird lays its eggs in other birds' nests. Paternity of M.M.B. quotes extensively from Fairrow but I would call the following paragraph the key point:

Although we grant Joe relief, we stress that the gene testing results which gave rise to the prima facie case for relief in this situation became available independently of court action. In granting relief to a party who learned of his non-parenthood through the course of ordinary medical care, we do not intend to create a new tactical nuclear weapon for divorce combatants. One who comes into court to challenge a support order on the basis of non-paternity without externally obtained clear medical proof should be rejected as outside the equitable discretion of the trial court.
Hence, the father in the current case screwed up by getting non-externally obtained clear medical proof.

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