from Baldwin Circuit Court. (DR-11-901937.02).
Presiding Judge. Pittman, Thomas, Moore, and Donaldson, JJ.,
THOMPSON, Presiding Judge.
(" the husband" ) appeals from the dismissal by the
Baldwin Circuit Court (" the trial court" ) of his
petition to reopen proceedings to reexamine the determination
as to the paternity C.R.C. (" the child" ), a child
born during the husband's marriage to D.G.C. (" the
parties were divorced by a judgment of the trial court on May
11, 2012. Pursuant to the divorce judgment, the husband was
required to pay $1,160 per month in child support. Although
the divorce judgment made no express adjudication of
paternity, a judgment " requiring a man to pay child
support is an implicit determination of paternity."
See Ex parte Washington, [Ms. 2140163, Feb. 20,
2015] __ So.3d __, __ (Ala.Civ.App. 2015). On May 14, 2014,
the husband, having reason to believe he is not the
child's natural father, filed a petition seeking to
reopen proceedings to reexamine the determination regarding
the paternity of the child, pursuant to § 26-17A-1, Ala.
Code 1975. Section 26-17A-1(a) provides:
" Upon petition of the defendant in a paternity
proceeding where the defendant has been declared the legal
father, the case shall be reopened if there is scientific
evidence presented by the defendant that he is not the
father. The court shall admit into evidence any scientific
test recognized by the court that
has been conducted in accordance with established scientific
principles or the court may order a blood test, or a
Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid test of the mother, father, and
child. Whenever the court orders a test and any of the
persons to be tested refuse to submit to the test, the fact
shall be disclosed at the trial, unless good cause is
his petition, the husband included a report from Laboratory
Corporation of America (" LabCorp" ) that, based on
deoxyribonucleic acid (" DNA" ) analysis of the
husband and the child, determined that the husband's
probability of paternity of the child is 0%. Based on that
evidence, the husband asked the trial court to enter a
judgment adjudicating that he is not the child's father.
That same day, the husband also filed a separate motion
requesting a stay of his child-support obligation pending the
trial court's ruling on the paternity issue.
24, 2014, the wife filed in the trial court a motion to
dismiss the husband's action. The wife argued that the
husband had not challenged the paternity of the child during
the divorce proceedings and that he had not appealed the
divorce judgment; consequently, she argued, a redetermination
of the child's paternity was barred by the doctrine of
7, 2014, the trial court held a hearing on the wife's
motion to dismiss; the trial court entered a judgment
dismissing the husband's action that same day. The
husband filed a motion to alter, amend, or vacate the
judgment, and a hearing was held on that motion on September
4, 2014. That motion was denied, and the husband timely
appeal, the husband argues that the trial court erred in
dismissing his action based on the doctrine of res judicata.
Although the trial court's judgment does not state its
ground for dismissal, the transcript of the hearing indicates
that the trial court dismissed the husband's action
because " [i]t involves the same parties. It's the
same issue." Thus, we infer that the trial court based
its dismissal of the husband's action on the doctrine of
When a trial court dismisses claims based on the doctrine of
res judicata, the application of that doctrine is a question
of law that must be reviewed de novo." R.P. v. State
ex rel. M.G.R.,963 So.2d 88, 91 (Ala.Civ.App. 2007).
When an " 'appeal concerns only questions of law,
there is no presumption of correctness in favor of the trial
court's judgment.'" F.M. v. B.S., [Ms.
2130266, Dec. 5, 2014] __ So.3d __, __ ...