Parents in Rockford who are currently paying child support may be interested in a news story concerning a man who was jailed over past due payments for a child who wasn’t even his. The man is married with two children, but he briefly saw another woman during a separation from his wife in 2006. The other woman claimed to be carrying the man’s child, and although he denied paternity, he was eventually jailed for not paying over $50,000 in child support.

Fortunately, he was able to prove he was not the father after a change in the state law. His attorney (not affiliated with this firm) provided him with a drugstore paternity test, and once the proper chain of custody was determined, the samples were sent in for verification. The results established the man had a zero probability of being the father, and he was released from jail shortly thereafter.

However, the law in the man’s home state — Texas — still considered him responsible for child support payments, even though the state relinquished his parental responsibility to the child. Luckily for him, the child’s mother agreed to waive her claim to the child support. Although he still owes the state for fees and the woman’s medical care, he is likely breathing a sigh of relief that this confusing chapter in his life is nearly over.

While this dispute occurred outside of Illinois, it underscores the need to treat child support claims seriously, regardless of the questionable circumstances that may underlie a claim. Illinois residents who are paying child support for children they suspect may not be theirs would do well to be fully aware of their rights under Illinois family law. Thankfully, there are opportunities through modern technology to either confirm or debunk a claim of paternity. Likewise, custodial parents who aren’t receiving the funds they need have legal options to ensure that the noncustodial parent makes those immensely important payments.

Source: CBS DFW, “Man Jailed For Child Support For Baby That Wasn’t His,” Carol Cavazos, April 12, 2012