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In re Paternity of E.H.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 29, 2019

In the Matter of the Paternity of E.H.;
v.
Alvina Casillas and Paul Hernandez, Appellees-Petitioners. Paul Bobby Hernandez, Appellant-Respondent,

          Appeal from the Marion Circuit Court The Honorable Sheryl L. Lynch, Judge The Honorable Marie L. Kern, Magistrate Trial Court Cause Nos. 49C01-1803-JP-10858 49C01-1803-JP-10865

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Christopher J. Evans Noblesville, Indiana

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE DawnMarie White Swenson & Associates PC Carmel, Indiana

          PYLE, JUDGE.

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] In this consolidated appeal, Paul Bobby Hernandez ("Father") appeals the trial court's order, which concluded that Alvina Casillas and Paul Hernandez ("Casillas and Hernandez") have standing to seek grandparent visitation of Father's adopted children, E.H. ("E.H.") and I.H. ("I.H.") (collectively "the children"). Concluding that Casillas and Hernandez do not have standing to seek visitation, we reverse the trial court's order.

         [¶2] We reverse.

         Issue

         Whether the trial court erroneously concluded that Grandparents have standing to seek visitation of Father's adopted children.

         Facts

         [¶3] The facts are undisputed. E.H., who was born in March 2005, and I.H., who was born in December 2005, were adjudicated to be Children in Need of Services. In January 2017, the trial court terminated the parental rights of the children's biological parents. Father, the children's biological maternal uncle, and his significant other adopted the children. Father and his significant other are not married.

         [¶4] In March 2018, Casillas and Hernandez, the children's biological maternal grandparents, filed petitions for grandparent visitation as maternal grandparents.[1] Father filed motions to dismiss wherein he argued that Casillas and Hernandez lacked standing to pursue visitation with the children because no visitation order had been established before the adoption and their visitation petition had been filed after the adoption.

         [¶5] In July 2018, Casillas and Hernandez filed amended petitions for grandparent visitation as paternal grandparents. Father responded to the petitions with motions to dismiss wherein he argued that Casillas and Hernandez lacked standing to petition for grandparent visitation because they did not meet the statutory requirements to seek visitation.

         [¶6] Following a hearing, in September 2018, the trial court issued orders wherein it explained that because Father and his significant other were not married when they adopted the children, the children were "technically . . . 'born' out of wedlock." (App. Vol. 2 at 46). Therefore, according to the trial court, Casillas and Hernandez ...


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