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Texas man jailed for not paying child support freed from obligation

Judge Vicki L. Pinak - Former District Court Judge

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A Texas man is currently experiencing a nightmare involving child support for a child that turned out not to be his biological child. During a separation with his wife in 2006, he became involved with another woman. After a brief affair, the woman said she was pregnant with his child. In January 2012, the man was actually jailed in Tarrant County for owing over $50,000 in child support payments. He has always been adamant that the child was not his and thanks to a new law in Texas, he has been freed from jail.

With the new law, the man was able to take a drugstore paternity test. Once the proper chain of custody for the samples was obtained, he submitted the documentation for consideration. Results showed the man had no probability of being the child's father. Shortly after the results came back, the man was freed from jail.

However, even though the DNA test showed the man was definitely not the child's father and he was released from all parental responsibility, it did not excuse the $50,000 the state said he still owed in child support. Amazingly enough, the woman to whom he owed the money relinquished her claim to the child support, essentially allowing him to walk away from the ordeal freed of the financial obligation. Although he still owes the state of Texas more than $1,300 for court fees and medical care for the child's mother, he is now able to return to his life as a husband and a father to his two other children.

The new Texas law allows men paying child support who are doubtful of paternity to file a claim in court. For those already ordered to pay child support, the claims must be submitted by Sept. 1. This law may give hope to many parents who may feel they are paying child support for a child that may not be theirs.

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

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