IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF J.M.B., a minor child,
Mandate Issued: 06/13/2018
FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF TULSA COUNTY, OKLAHOMA HONORABLE
KURT G. GLASSCO, TRIAL JUDGE
Jessika Tate, Gilbert J. Pilkington, Jr., Tulsa, Oklahoma,
Catherine Z. Welsh, Jim C. McGough, Matthew J. Hall, Mark A.
Zannotti, Brian D. Carter, WELSH & MCGOUGH, PLLC, Tulsa,
Oklahoma, for Appellees
N. Monroe, ASSISTANT PUBLIC DEFENDER, OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC
DEFENDER, Tulsa, Oklahoma, for Minor Child
The trial court respondent, Avery Buyckes (Buyckes), appeals
a Judgment determining that he has no standing to object to
the adoption of JMB by the maternal grandparents, Michael and
Phyllis White (Grandparents). JMB is represented by counsel
in these proceedings.
JMB was born on February 9, 2013. JMB's mother, Cokesha
D. Phillips (Mother) is deceased and her date of death is
September 16, 2016. At the time of her death she was married
to Timothy D. Phillips (Presumed Father). They were lawfully
married on September 22, 2000,  and remained married
until Mother's death.  JMB's birth certificate lists
Presumed Father as Father. 
Grandparents filed a petition to adopt JMB. Presumed Father
previously consented to Grandparents' custody in a sworn
document where he listed himself as "father."
He does not object to the adoption.
In their petition, Grandparents allege that Buyckes may claim
to be the natural father of JMB. The petition states that
Buyckes filed a paternity action in Tulsa County District
Court, and might claim an interest in the adoption
proceeding. Grandparents asserted that Buyckes had not been
adjudicated as the natural father, so he had no standing.
Alternatively, Grandparents moved for an order allowing the
adoption without his consent because he has not provided
support for JMB or maintained a positive relationship with
JMB. Counsel for JMB also filed a challenge to Buyckes'
The court in Buyckes' paternity case entered an
"Interim Temporary Order" which ordered that he pay
child support and an arrearage for child support and provided
for supervised visitation.  Buyckes relies on this
interim support order as one basis for finding that he is the
natural father of JMB and argues that it refers to him as
"father" of JMB. However, the paternity action
never became final with an adjudication of parentage and was
still pending when the present case was heard.  Buyckes
testified that he did not have the money to continue the
In addition to the support order, Buyckes relies on a DNA
test showing that he was not excluded as father and that the
test shows a relationship between Buyckes and JMB to have a
99.99% probability.  He also points out that JMB has
Buyckes as his last name. At the hearing on the standing
motion, Buyckes submitted into evidence a Department of Human
Services form, "Acknowledgment of Paternity" which
he and Mother signed. 
Buyckes filed a handwritten objection to the adoption where
he asserted his claim of being the natural father.
Grandparents and counsel for JMB challenged his standing.
After a hearing where evidence of the foregoing facts was
presented, the trial court determined that Buyckes did not
have standing and his objection to the adoption was therefore
moot. In addition, the trial court ruled that: (1) Paternity
was not decided; (2) The DHS child support order did not
determine that Buyckes was the father; (3) Buyckes'
"paternity case was moot because the mother had passed
away and him being determined the father could only be by
agreement;" and, (4) "Natural father was permitted
to file an application on paternity and submit
authority."  Buyckes appeals.
Standing, as a jurisdictional question, may be correctly
raised at any level of the judicial process or by the
Court on its own motion. This Court has consistently held
that standing to raise issues in a proceeding must be
predicated on interest that is "direct, immediate
and substantial." Standing determines whether the
person is the proper party to request adjudication of a
certain issue and does not decide the issue itself. The
key element is whether the party whose standing is
challenged has sufficient interest or stake in the
In re Estate of Doan, 1986 OK 15, ¶ 7, 727 P.2d
Standing presents a jurisdictional issue. Bank of
America, NA v. Kabba, 2012 OK 23, ¶ 4, 276 P.3d
1006, 1008. Jurisdictional questions are reviewed de
novo. Jackson v. Jackson, 2002 OK 25, ¶ 2,
45 P.3d 418, 421-22. Under this standard, the appellate court
has "plenary, independent and ...