In Re: The Paternity of K.H., Rebekah Harris (Mother), Appellant-Respondent,
Jon Cochran (Father), Appellee-Petitioner.
from the Kosciusko Superior Court The Honorable David C.
Cates, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 43D01-1712-JP-478
Attorney for Appellant Jarvis E. Newman, III Wigent &
Newman Ligonier, Indiana Helen L. Newman Birch Kaufman, LLC
Attorneys for Appellee John M. Haecker Squiller &
Hamilton, LLP Auburn, Indiana
OF THE CASE
Appellant-Respondent/Cross-Appellee, Rebekah Harris (Mother),
appeals from the trial court's paternity judgment and
custody order in favor of
Appellee-Petitioner/Cross-Appellant, Jon Cochran (Father).
Father cross-appeals the trial court's denial of his
petition to change the surname of the minor child (Child) to
We affirm. ISSUES
Mother presents four issues on appeal, which we restate as:
(1) Whether the trial court properly denied Mother's
motion to dismiss Father for lack of standing;
(2) Whether the trial court's paternity determination was
supported by the evidence;
(3) Whether the trial court properly took judicial notice of
the records from a child in need of services (CHINS)
proceeding involving Child; and
(4) Whether the trial court acted within its discretion when
it admitted evidence of a personality inventory taken by
In addition, Father presents one issue on cross-appeal, which
we restate as: Whether the trial court's denial of
Father's motion to change Child's surname to his own
was clearly erroneous.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Mother gave birth to Child in September of 2014. On May 19,
2017, the State filed a petition alleging that Child was a
CHINS due to the fact that Mother had been pulled over for a
traffic infraction and was found to have been driving with
Child and a variety of illegal drugs in the car. Mother was
arrested for possession of methamphetamine, among other
charges. During the pendency of the CHINS proceeding, Mother
identified Father as Child's father, and Father learned
for the first time of Child's existence. On October 27,
2017, Father filed a petition in Noble County to establish
paternity of Child. On December 8, 2017, the paternity case
was removed to Kosciusko County where, on February 8, 2018,
Father filed an amended petition to establish paternity,
custody, parenting time, child support, and name change, all
as Child's next friend. Child was ultimately placed with
Father during the CHINS proceedings.
As part of the CHINS action, at the request of the Department
of Child Services (DCS), on March 6, 2018, Mother underwent a
psychological evaluation at the Bowen Center in Warsaw,
Indiana. Jessicah Walker, M.A., Pre-Doctoral Intern (Walker),
conducted the evaluation which was based on a clinical
interview regarding Mother's medical, mental health,
family, social, educational, employment, legal, and substance
abuse histories. Mother also submitted to three diagnostic
surveys, including the MMPI-2-RF (MMPI), which "is a
widely used and accepted adult personality inventory that is
frequently used as an assessment of psychological health and
psychopathology." (Exhibit 2 Vol. III, p. 4). Although
she cautioned that Mother's results on the MMPI may not
be accurate due to over-reporting, Walker indicated in her
report that the MMPI indicated that Mother had a variety of
pathologies that were "generally congruent with
[Mother's] report although the findings present an even
more severe picture of [Mother's] emotional cognitive,
and interpersonal functioning than she reported." (Exh.
2 Vol. III, p. 5). Apart from the MMPI results, Walker also
concluded that, "[d]iagnostically," Mother met the
criteria for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; Severe Cannabis
Use Disorder; Severe Amphetamine-Type Substance Use Disorder;
Moderate Sedative, Hypnotic, or Anxiolytic Use Disorder; and
Moderate Cocaine Use Disorder. (Exh. 2 Vol. III, p. 6).
On May 1, 2018, the trial court conducted an evidentiary
hearing on Father's petition. Mother provided the
Counsel: Ma'am, you are the mother of [Child], correct?
Counsel: Jon Cochran is the father of [Child], correct?
Counsel: And you named him as the father as part of the CHINS
Mother: That is correct to the best of my knowledge he is the
Counsel: And you did so because you had sexual intercourse
with him in a time frame that was consistent with him being
the father, correct?
Counsel: You did not name any other individuals as a
potential father, correct?
Mother: That is correct.
Counsel: And you've never challenged any finding that he
is the father, you've never claimed that anyone else is
the father, correct?
(Transcript Vol. II, pp. ...