Parties Were Improperly Ordered to Mediation in Grandparent Paternity Case
Saturday, October, 21, 2017
An Indiana legal case was referred to mediation wrongly, according to the Indiana Court of Appeals. Mediation was inappropriate because the man who filed the paternity action lacked the standing to do so.
According to court documents, a woman was in a relationship with two men when she became pregnant. On the day the child was born, one of the men executed a paternity order that he was the child’s father. He and the mother shared custody.
During the course of the child’s life, the issue of paternity arose, but the other man died before he was able to establish paternity over the original man thought to be the father. After his death, the man’s father attempted to establish that his son was the child’s biological father. He filed a Request for Custody or in the Alternative Request for Grandparent Visitation. The mother intervened and said the man could not file a paternity action under Indiana law.
The child’s mother and man who claimed to be his biological grandfather entered into mediation, agreeing that the man’s son was the biological father, but that the original custody arrangement would not change. The man claiming to be the grandfather could visit with the child, but could not speak to the child about the relationship.
The mother learned though that he had and ceased honoring their mediated agreement.
The Indiana Court of Appeals ultimately stepped in and remanded the case for trial to determine how much the man claiming to be the grandparent should pay in attorney’s fees. According to the court, the man never had standing to file for paternity or custody, and therefore, mediation was never appropriate.