State v. Julio G. (Nebraska 2019)

303 Neb. 207 (2019)
May 2019

In Nebraska, an indigent parent is entitled to court-appointed counsel in paternity cases. The state of Nebraska filed a support action against the father and attached an acknowledgment of paternity. The father challenged the acknowledgment. He testified that he spoke no English, read no English, and did not understand what he was signing. The court decided that the case had turned into a paternity action, determined the father was indigent, and appointed counsel. Genetic testing confirmed paternity, and the court entered a paternity and support order. The state of Nebraska appealed the appointment of counsel.  The Supreme Court upheld the appointment. The Court found the father made a timely challenge to the acknowledgment, and he properly alleged a material mistake of fact. Due process requires the appointment of counsel for indigent parents in a paternity action; therefore, the district court’s order was proper.