State v. Sands (Kansas 2020)

No. 121, 754 (Kan. Ct. App. 2020)
October 2020

A motion to set aside a default judgment of paternity must be filed within a reasonable time. In 2014, a default paternity order established the father’s support obligation. He notified the district court of his intent to have the order set aside but never filed anything. He paid a small amount of support before he died in 2017. His Estate filed a motion to set aside the paternity judgment. The district court denied the motion finding that it wasn’t filed in a reasonable amount of time. The district court also found that the child had an interest in support and inheritance rights. The Estate appealed. The Estate argued that the district court should have allowed genetic evidence and that substantial justice required the judgment be set aside. The appellate court found no abuse of discretion in the district court’s order. Fatal to the appeal, the Estate didn’t challenge the finding that the motion was not filed within a reasonable time. Even if the Estate had appealed this finding, it would not have been successful. The appellate court found the father had more than adequate time to file to set aside the judgement before his death, and he chose not to file.