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PAULUSSEN V. HERION, 475 U. S. 557 (1986)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Paulussen v. Herion, 475 U.S. 557 (1986)

Paulussen v. Herion

No. 85-88

Argued March 5, 1986

Decided March 25, 1986

475 U.S. 557


In 1980, appellant filed a paternity and child support petition in a Pennsylvania court on behalf of her 7-year-old daughter, who had been born out of wedlock, alleging that appellee was the natural father and had ceased making contributions to the daughter's support in 1975. The court held that the action was barred under the state statute of limitations, which then required that paternity actions be commenced within six years of the child's birth or within two years of the putative father's last voluntary support contribution or written acknowledgment of paternity. Appellant's contention that the statute violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was rejected. The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed.

Held: The judgment below is vacated, and the case is remanded for further consideration in light of Pennsylvania's intervening enactment of a new statute providing that a paternity action may be commenced at any time within 18 years of the child's birth. Appellee conceded that he was subject to the new statute and would be liable for child support from the date paternity was established, but he contended that he would not be liable for support payments dating back to when the petition was filed in 1980. If the Pennsylvania court were to interpret the new statute to require payments dating back to 1980, the constitutionality of the 6-year statute of limitations would be irrelevant.

334 Pa.Super. 585, 483 A.2d 892, vacated and remanded. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 475 U. S. 558

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