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K.E.M. v. P.C.S.

38 A.3d 798 (2012)

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K.E.M. v. P.C.S.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

38 A.3d 798 (2012)

Facts

K.E.M. (plaintiff) and P.C.S. (defendant) conceived a child during an extramarital affair. K.E.M. told her husband about the affair, genetic testing excluded him as the father, and his name was not put on the child’s birth certificate. P.C.S. acknowledged the child as his son, gave him gifts, and occasionally spent time with him. When P.C.S. ended the affair, K.E.M. separated from her husband but did not divorce, and sued P.C.S. for child support. The trial court recognized her husband as the legal father on two grounds. First, the marital presumption of paternity applied because he had remained married to K.E.M., and no evidence showed irretrievable marital breakdown. Second, paternity by estoppel applied because he held himself out to publicly as the child’s parent, at his baptism, and on tax returns. The appellate court affirmed based on paternity by estoppel, but rejected the marital presumption of paternity, reasoning that it did not apply when a husband knows he is not a child’s biological father. K.E.M. appealed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Saylor, J.)

Dissent (Baer, J.)

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