Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Paternity of Mendoza Bonilla

Court of Appeals of Indiana

June 5, 2019

In the Matter of the Paternity of Kevin Yafet Mendoza Bonilla Kevin Yafet Mendoza Bonilla aka Kevin Yafeth Mendoza Bonilla, a Minor, By his Next Friend, Perla Maily Bonilla Acosta, Appellant,
v.
Marco Tulio Mendoza Maldonado, Appellee.

          Appeal from the Marion Circuit Court Trial Court Cause No. 49C01-1607-JP-23926 The Honorable Sheryl L. Lynch, Judge The Honorable Marie L. Kern, Magistrate Judge

          Attorneys for Appellant Brian J. Paul Erica K. Drew Kayla D. Britton Faegre Baker Daniels LLP Indianapolis, Indiana

          Brown, Judge.

         [¶1] Kevin Yafet Mendoza Bonilla aka Kevin Yafeth Mendoza Bonilla ("Kevin") appeals the trial court's paternity order and denial of an amended order. Kevin raises one issue which we revise and restate as whether the trial court had the authority and duty to make requisite findings on his special immigrant juvenile status in accordance with 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(27)(J). We reverse and remand.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] On July 6, 2016, Kevin by his next friend and mother, Perla Maily Bonilla Acosta ("Mother"), filed a verified petition to establish paternity in the Marion Circuit Court. The petition requested that the court issue findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding Kevin's care including that "[i]t is not in Kevin's best interests to return to his home country of Honduras because: (1) there are no suitable adults there who can provide for his care and (2) there are dangerous living conditions in that country," and that Kevin cannot be reunited with his father, Marco Tulio Mendoza Maldonado ("Father"), due to Father's abandonment of Kevin. Appellant's Appendix Volume II at 9. On July 8, 2016, Mother filed an "Affidavit of [Mother] Pursuant to Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act." Id. at 11 (capitalization omitted).

         [¶3] On November 16, 2017, Kevin by Mother as next friend filed a Motion for Court to Issue an Order Establishing Paternity or in the Alternative to Set a Hearing to Establish Paternity. That same day, Father filed a Consent to Jurisdiction in which he asserted that Kevin was born to him and Mother on January 26, 2000, and that he ceased contact with Kevin on the day Kevin was born, did not continue a parental relationship after that time, and did not dispute any of the factual allegations contained in the petition. On November 30, 2017, Kevin by Mother as next friend filed a Motion for Expedited Hearing.

         [¶4] On March 27, 2018, the court held a hearing. The court stated: "My review of the file suggest[s] that you are attempting to get an order from this Court to establish special juvenile immigration status, counsel is that correct?" Transcript at 4. Mother's counsel indicated that was correct. The court stated in part: "Yeah, unfortunately counsel this is not the first time this has come up here. This is an issue that we have looked at extensively and we believe that as the law is currently written in the State of Indiana, we have limitations in terms of what this Court's ability to find and enter based upon the way the law is currently written." Id. at 5. The court also stated that "[t]here is no language with regards to an abandonment finding that this Court can make it does not pertain to JP actions in any way." Id. at 6. The court stated:

[T]he federal law requires me to be able to make a finding that it is not viable for the child to be returned to one or both parents and their custody, well a. I have a problem that we are now dealing with an adult and b. again I do not know I can make that finding because under current Indiana law at most I can find that the child would be emotionally impaired or physically endangered if a parents' parenting time was unrestricted.

Id. The court further stated that it did not believe it had the legal authority to make certain findings.

         [¶5] Mother testified that Kevin was born on January 26, 2000, and that he came to the United States in 2015 because he had been threatened by gangs. She testified that Kevin was in high school, that Father was not involved in parenting and currently lives in Honduras and has not contributed any support, that Father abandoned Kevin and that it was not possible that Kevin be reunited with Father, that it was not in Kevin's best interest to return to Honduras because he was threatened by a gang and Honduras is dangerous, and that she financially supported Kevin.

         [¶6] On May 4, 2018, Kevin by Mother as next friend filed a Supplemental Brief and Authorities in Support of and Request for Order Regarding Petitioner's Eligibility for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(27)(J).

         [¶7] On July 23, 2018, the court entered an order establishing paternity of Kevin in Father, giving Mother sole legal and physical custody and finding that: "[f]or all intents and purposes, [Father] effectively abandoned the child at birth, leaving Mother as the sole care provider"; Father "effectively abandoned the child at birth, having provided no physical, emotional or financial support of the child in 18 years"; and "return to Honduras poses a risk of harm or injury to the minor child, and as such, [the court] does not find that it is in the child's best interests to return to Honduras." Appellant's Appendix Volume II at 119-120.

         [¶8] On July 30, 2018, Kevin by Mother as next friend filed a Motion for Clarification of Final Order. He asserted that to be eligible to apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for Special Immigrant Status, a "juvenile or State court" must first make several findings of fact, including that "[t]he child's reunification with one or both parents is not viable due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or similar basis found under State law within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(27)(J)." Id. at 122. He also requested the court to clarify its final order to specify its authority to enter the order and that the child's reunification with Father was not viable due to Father's abandonment and to enter an order substantially similar to the court's final order reflecting such a finding. He requested that the amended order include the following language: "Based on the record of this case and [Father's] abandonment of this child, reunification with [Father] is not viable." Id. at 123. On October 4, 2018, the court denied ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.