Family Law Paternity

Pursuant to the divorce judgment, the husband was required to pay $1,160 per month in child support. On May 14, 2014, the husband, having reason to believe that he was not the child’s natural father, filed a petition seeking to reopen the proceedings to reexamine the determination regarding paternity pursuant to Ala. Code 1975, § 26-17A-1. The husband included a DNA report indicating that he was not the father of the child. The wife filed a motion to dismiss the husband’s action based on res judicata.

The trial court granted the wife’s motion to dismiss. The husband appealed. Reversed. “In Alabama, there are two exceptions to the operation of the doctrine of res judicata with respect to paternity judgments: Rule 60 (b)(6), Ala. R. Civ. P., and § 26-17A-1.” S.C.G. v. J.G.Y., 794 So.3d 399, 404 (Ala. Civ. App. 2000)[9 ALW 37-10]. On appeal, the wife conceded that § 26-17A-1 provides an exception to the application of res judicata in paternity actions. How- ever, she contended that the husband did not present scientific evidence required for the § 26-17A01(a) exception to be applicable. “Caselaw in Alabama is scarce regarding what constitutes scientific evidence that is sufficient to re- open a paternity case under § 26-17A-1(a).” In this case, the husband presented a LabCorp report containing a DNA analysis of the husband and the child. That report indicated that the husband’s probability of paternity was 0%. This evidence was sufficient to reopen the proceedings to reexamine the previous paternity determination. The judgment of the trial court is due to be reversed.