Spencer Diaz v. Department of Human Services, State of Mississippi and Lora M. Ledet

No. 2018-CA-00417-COA (Miss. Ct. App. 2019)
September 2019

A technical error will not render a paternity acknowledgement void. When the mother and father met, the mother was already pregnant. The father signed a paternity acknowledgement several months after the child’s birth. Several years later, the parents separated, and the state of Mississippi filed to establish support. The father filed to disestablish paternity, claiming fraud. The chancery court denied his petition, and he appealed. He argued that the notary did not keep a required logbook and this voided the acknowledgement. He also argued the placement of the notary seal obscured the notary’s name and ID number. The court of appeals upheld the chancery court’s decision. It found the acknowledgement form clearly states the consequences of signing the affidavit and a minor technicality will not made an acknowledgement void. The appellate court also found it appropriate to deny the petition to disestablish. The father had claimed the child as a dependent on his taxes and listed himself as the child’s biological father on school forms.