Terence T. JONES
Annette Brown MALLETT, Mississippi Department of Public Health-State Registrar of Vital Statistics and Mississippi Department of Human Services.
Rehearing Denied Aug. 27, 2013.
John Fitzgerald Hughes, attorney for appellant.
Joshua Lee Eure, Tracy A. Bowen, David Lee Love, Jackson, attorneys for appellees.
Before RANDOLPH, P.J., LAMAR and KITCHENS, JJ.
¶ 1. Terence Jones (Jones) appeals the Attala County Chancery Court's denial of his 2011 petition to disestablish paternity, which relied on Section 93-9-10(3)(c) of the Mississippi Code. Because Jones signed a stipulated agreement of paternity that was approved by order of the Attala County Chancery Court in 2000, the chancery court properly denied Jones's petition as presented. Accordingly, we affirm the chancery court's judgment denying Jones's petition for disestablishment of paternity.
¶ 2. In 2000, Jones was involved in a nonmarital, romantic relationship with Annette Brown Mallett. Mallett gave birth to a child on August 22, 2000. It is unclear when exactly Jones first learned that he may not have been the child's father. Mallett claims she informed Jones upon announcing the pregnancy. Jones claims that he did not learn that he might not be the father until shortly after signing the paternity agreement as well as the birth certificate. Specifically, Jones stated that he learned of the possibility a couple of months after the child's birth.
¶ 3. Regardless, Jones was named the child's biological father on the birth certificate, and he signed the birth certificate. Subsequently, on October 16, 2000, Jones entered into a " Stipulated Agreement of Support and Admission of Paternity" admitting paternity and agreeing to pay $115 each month in child support. The stipulated agreement of paternity was approved by order of the Attala County Chancery Court in cause number 2000-286. No appeal of that order and cause number has been taken.
¶ 4. In December 2010 (ten years after Jones first learned that he might not be the child's father), Jones had a DNA test performed, which excluded Jones as the
child's biological father. On March 2, 2011, Jones filed the present separate action to disestablish paternity, as opposed to seeking relief from the final judgment entered in cause number 2000-286 via a Rule 60(b)(5) or (6) motion. Jones filed an amended petition on July 21, 2011. On December 1, 2011, the chancery court entered an agreed order for a DNA test to be performed through the Mississippi Department of Human Services (DHS), which again excluded Jones as the biological father. On December 5, 2011, Jones filed a second amended petition. The chancery court held a hearing on January 19, 2012, and granted Mallett's oral motion to dismiss Jones's petition to disestablish paternity, citing Section 93-9-10 of the Mississippi Code.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
¶ 5. Jones does not dispute the underlying facts. The sole issue he presents is the interpretation and application of three subsections of Mississippi Code Section 93-9-10(3). Accordingly, the applicable standard of review is de novo. Tellus Operating Group, LLC v. Texas Petroleum Inv. Co.,105 So.3d 274, 278 (Miss.2012) (" Questions of ...