Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Paternity and Adoption

The Court of Appeals decided IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF THE UNBORN CHILD OF B.W. (Pdf format) last week. Consider this an object lesson on why a father needs to get paternity established:

Appellant-petitioner Wilfrido Garcia appeals the trial court’s refusal to set aside its grant of adoption regarding his minor child, T.B., in favor of appellees-respondents David Heine Bos and Janae Herbst Bos (collectively, the “Boses”). Specifically, Garcia argues that he contested the adoption in a timely manner and the facts and circumstances demonstrate that the trial court abused its discretion in concluding that he impliedly consented to the adoption. Concluding that Garcia failed to follow the proper statutory procedures in contesting the adoption, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Notwithstanding these statutory requirements, Garcia maintains that Indiana Code sections 31-19-4-5 and –9-12 are in apparent conflict because 9-12 requires the putative father to file a motion to contest the adoption or to initiate a paternity action. Appellant’s Br. p. 16. However, even assuming for the sake of argument that a conflict exists among the statutes, it is undisputed that Garcia did not file his motion to contest T.B.’s adoption in the adoption court in a timely manner. Moreover, we note that when there is an apparent conflict between two statutes, this court has held that it is our role to examine and harmonize them if possible. State v. Universal Outdoor, Inc., 880 N.E.2d 1188, 1191 (Ind. 2008)....

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