The Superior Court has ruled that a baby conceived out of wedlock and born after the death of the biological father can inherit from the father’s estate as an afterborn heir.
In an order Monday, Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho said the evidence provides clear and convincing evidence that David Ngirarois Camacho (David I), who has since passed away, was the biological father of David Ngirarois Camacho II (David II). As such, Camacho said, David II is an afterborn heir of decedent David I. Camacho said a new birth certificate shall be issued to David II, listing David I, as his father. The judge also ruled that David II is deemed an heir of the estate of his father, David I.
Adrienne Deleon Guerrero Flores, who is the administratrix of the David I estate, claims that David I is the biological father of her son, David II. Flores said David II was born after David I died.
Camacho heard last March 5 Flores’ motion for a determination of paternity and heirship for David II. Flores appeared personally at the hearing and through counsel, Christopher Heeb.
In his findings of fact, Camacho said that David I entered into an intimate relationship with Flores in March 2018. They were unmarried but lived together until David I’s death.
David I and Flores also lived with two of David I’s biological minor children from a previous relationship and five of Flores’ biological minor children from a previous relationship. David I was active in the lives of all seven of the minor children that lived with him and Flores.
In July 2018, four months after that, Flores became pregnant. David I publicly held himself as the father of Flores’ unborn child and expressed excitement at the pending birth of the baby. Flores testified that she and David I informed their families and friends of the pregnancy and upcoming birth.
Camacho found Flores’ testimony credible, as well as the testimony of two other witnesses—the oldest biological child of David I and a relative of David I—who both testified, among other things, David I’s excitement about the pregnancy.
On March 1, 2019, then-47-year-old David I died in the CNMI. On April 14, 2019, or a month after David I died, Flores gave birth to a baby boy she named David II.
Camacho said paternity established after the death of the father must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. Citing precedent, Camacho said the CNMI Supreme Court found that the same rationale used in paternity proceedings under the Uniform Parentage Act also applies in heirship proceedings where paternity is at issue.
Camacho said evidence that Commonwealth courts may use to establish paternity include evidence of sexual intercourse between the mother and the alleged father at any possible point of the conception, testimony regarding one’s birth out of wedlock, and any other evidence relevant to the issue of the paternity of the child.
Camacho said he heard credible testimony that Flores, the mother of David II, had sex with only David I during the time in which David II was conceived
Camacho said he finds that the evidence provides clear and convincing proof that David II is the biological son of David I.