Moore v. Goode

In Moore v. Goode, 180 W. Va. 78, 375 S.E.2d 549 (1988), the Court had further opportunity to address the right of a child born out of wedlock to inherit from the father. In discussing the distinctions among paternity, divorce, and support statutes, the Court rejected an argument that the "determined father" definition contained in the adoption statute would apply to assist in the resolution of the inheritance issue. "We decline to hold that the legislature intended the determined father language in the adoption statute to be the means by which paternity is established for purpose of intestate succession." Id. at 84, 375 S.E.2d at 555. The Court further observed that the "statutory distinctions" between a determined father and an unknown father "may have evolved in order to meet the due process and equal protection problems that can occur in adoption cases." Id. In characterizing the nature of the civil action designed to enable inheritance from the father of a child born out of wedlock, the Court stated: "We recognize that this suit is not a paternity action because Isaac N. Morris the putative father is deceased." Id.