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State ex rel. Secretary, Department for Children and Families v. Manson

Court of Appeals of Kansas

June 14, 2019

State of Kansas, Ex Rel., Secretary, Department for Children and Families, and C.M., A Minor Child, by and Through the Mother and Natural Guardian Nikole L. Wilkinson, and Nikole L. Wilkinson, Necessary Third Parties, Appellees,
v.
Traig J. Manson, Appellant.

         SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

         When a man fails to revoke a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity (VAP) form executed under K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 23-2204 within one year of a child's birth, a permanent father and child relationship is created between the man who signed the VAP and the child that cannot be rebutted by genetic testing.

          Appeal from Shawnee District Court; Lori L. Yockers, judge pro tem.

          A. Victoria Chundak, of The Law Firm of Tenopir and Huerter, of Topeka, for appellant.

          Philip L. Goetz, contract attorney, Kansas Department for Children and Families, for appellee.

          Before Arnold-Burger, C.J., Hill, J., and Stutzman, S.J.

          Arnold-Burger, J.

         When a man fails to revoke a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity (VAP) form executed under K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 23-2204 within one year of a child's birth, a permanent father and child relationship is created between the man who signed the VAP and the child that cannot be rebutted by genetic testing.

         Traig J. Manson executed a VAP acknowledging C.M. as his son. When C.M.'s mother applied for State benefits, the State requested child support from Manson. Manson asked the district court for genetic testing. The district court held a hearing and determined that genetic testing was not in C.M.'s best interests. Manson appealed. The district court correctly denied Manson's request for genetic testing. Because Manson did not revoke the VAP within one year of C.M.'s birth, any genetic test results would be immaterial to whether Manson was C.M.'s father. The VAP created a permanent father and child relationship and Manson is required to support C.M. regardless of whether they are biologically related.

         The decision of the district court is affirmed.

         Factual and Procedural History

         In September 2016, the Secretary of the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) filed a petition for support alleging that Manson is C.M.'s father and owes him child support. In response to the petition, Manson said that he was not C.M.'s father. He attached the results of a DNA test to his response. Manson added that he was only involved in C.M.'s life until C.M. was one year old, at which time Manson received the DNA results. Additionally, C.M.'s mother, Nikole Wilkinson, was in a relationship with a different man whom C.M. called "Dad."

         The district court conducted a Ross hearing to determine whether genetic testing was in C.M.'s best interests. See In re Marriage of Ross, 245 Kan. 591, 602, 783 P.2d 331 (1989) ("Prior to ordering a blood test to determine whether the presumed parent is the biological parent, the district court must consider the best interests of the child, including physical, mental, and emotional needs."). C.M. was two years old at the time of the hearing.

         At the hearing, Manson explained that he allowed his name to be listed on C.M.'s birth certificate because at the time he did believe he was the father. However, while at the hospital Manson completed a genetic test from Walgreens which showed that he was not C.M.'s father. Because Wilkinson told him that she had nowhere to live, Manson allowed her and C.M. to live with him for about one year. During this time, Manson was not financially responsible for the child, although he sometimes helped out. Once Wilkinson moved out, his relationship with C.M. stopped. He argued that C.M. did not know who he was, and that he had not seen C.M. since Wilkinson moved out. ...


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