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In re Paternity of D.T.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 28, 2014

IN RE PATERNITY OF D.T. (Minor Child);
v.
DEANTE RASHON TATE (Father), Appellee-Respondent DIAMOND T. PARKS (Mother), Appellant-Petitioner,

APPEAL FROM THE MADISON CIRCUIT COURT. The Honorable Angela Warner Sims, Judge, The Honorable Jason A. Childers, Master Commissioner. Cause No. 48C01-1111-JP-299.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: CODY P. COGSWELL, Anderson, Indiana.

CRONE, Judge. BAKER, J., and NAJAM, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 472

CRONE, Judge.

Case Summary

Diamond T. Parks (" Mother" ) is a Mississippi resident. In 2011, she filed an action against Deante Rashon Tate (" Father" ) in a Neshoba County, Mississippi court (" Mississippi court" ), seeking to establish his paternity of her two-year-old son, D.T., and to enforce child support and obtain Medicaid benefits. Because Father resides in Anderson, Indiana, the Mississippi Department of Human Services sought enforcement assistance in Madison Circuit Court (" trial court" ). Several months later, the trial court held a hearing, during which Father admitted to paternity. Although D.T. had resided with Mother for his first two years and was listed as a Mississippi resident, he was physically present with Father in Anderson due to a death in Father's family. Shortly after paternity was established, Father sought custody of D.T. in the Indiana trial court. Due to defective service, Mother was unaware of the Indiana custody hearing and did not appear. The trial court awarded custody to Father.

Mother now appeals, claiming that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (" UIFSA" ) to make a custody determination and that the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction over her due to defective service of process. Finding that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, we reverse and remand for proceedings consistent with this decision.

Facts and Procedural History

On June 3, 2009, Mother gave birth to D.T. out of wedlock in Anderson, Indiana.

Page 473

Father was listed on the birth certificate as D.T.'s father, but paternity had never been adjudicated. The relationship between Mother and Father deteriorated, and Father was convicted of strangulation, criminal confinement, and domestic battery committed against Mother in D.T.'s presence in July 2010. The court in that cause issued a no-contact order, and Mother and D.T. relocated to Mississippi, where they lived until November 2011. In July 2011, Mother filed an action in the Mississippi court seeking Medicaid benefits and child support from Father. Because paternity had never been established, on

July 12, 2011, the Mississippi Department of Human Services transmitted a request for a paternity determination and child support enforcement under UIFSA to the Indiana Central Registry Child Support Division. The Madison County prosecutor, acting as an intervening party, filed a UIFSA action in the Indiana trial court to support the Mississippi request. On November 8, 2012, the trial court issued a summons ordering Father to appear at a hearing on February 19, 2013, at which time he admitted to paternity.

From November 2011 to early 2013, D.T. went back and forth from Mother to Father, living with Father in Anderson from November 2011 to June 2012, and returning to Mississippi with Mother from June to October 2012. He lived with Father from October 2012 to January 2013, when he went back to Mother's home in Mississippi. On February 13, 2013, Mother brought D.T. back to Indiana and placed him in her own mother's care while she moved to a new apartment in Mississippi. Father sought D.T.'s presence at a memorial service for his own mother, and Mother consented. When Father was supposed to meet Mother in Tennessee to return D.T. to ...


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