Many Texas readers may be following an unusual case in which a man has been ordered by a judge to make back child support payments for a child who is not his. The story has led to a great deal of debate, and has many calling for reform in the manner in which child support matters are handled by family courts. After having fought for years, the man at the center of this case now finds himself having to make the payments or risk punitive measures by the state.
The man once had a relationship with the child’s mother. When she fell upon hard times, she filed for welfare benefits. At that point, she was asked to name the child’s father, and listed her former boyfriend without his knowledge or consent. Years later, the man was pulled over for a traffic stop and was subsequently arrested for failure to pay back child support. He made an effort to locate the woman, but was unable to do so until 2013; at that point, she apologized for making the false paternity claim.
The man obtained a DNA test that proved that he has no biological connection to the child, and went back to court to settle the matter. However, it was asserted in court that the man had been served years before with notice that he was being named as the child’s father, and took no action to refute those claims. A process server claimed that the man signed for the letter, but records show that such service would not have been possible, because the man was in prison on the date that service was allegedly made.
In a recent court hearing, the judge in the case refused to free the man from responsibility for the $30,000 owed in back child support. This is despite the fact that a DNA test, the child (now an adult) and the child’s mother all assert that the man in question is not the father of the child. In fact, the man who is the child’s father is now involved in her life. This leaves little option other than to pursue the matter in appeals. For many in Texas and across the nation, this case serves as an example of how child support issues can be distorted by the courts.
Source: theroot.com, “Judge Orders Detroit Man to Pay $30,000 in Back Child Support for Child Who Isn’t His“, Stephen A. Crockett Jr., Feb. 19, 2015