The goal of child support is not to punish a parent, but rather to ensure that a child is properly cared for, and that all that child’s needs are met. In fact, the overriding factor that a judge will take into consideration is what is in the best interest of a child.
However, that doesn’t mean that child support is always fair, and that was recently highlighted in a Houston case in which a man was forced to pay child support for a child that is not his biological offspring.
Although Gabriel Cornejo, 45, proved through a DNA test that he was not the biological father of his ex-girlfriend’s child, he had already been named as the child’s father back in 2003, and a court had ordered him to pay child support.
How is that possible, and is it even legal? Let’s take a look at why this case is so important for anyone involved in a paternity suit.
Child Support Law In Texas Makes the Claim Legal
A law in Texas states that men who are not the biological father of a child, but who owed child support prior to when a DNA test proved they were not the child’s father, must still pay all back child support.
Cornejo argued that he never received the initial paternity petition in 2002 and as a result didn’t take a DNA test until recently.
As a result, Cornejo owes $65,000 in back child support payments, although he is still fighting the ruling based on his contention that he never received the original paternity petition.
Florida Law Allows Disestablishment of Paternity
If a similar situation occurred in Florida, a man would be allowed to file a Petition to Disestablish Paternity, which would legally end any child support obligation. The steps to file this petition include:
- Filing a sworn affidavit of evidence (DNA test) that proves he is not the biological father
- Sending a copy of the affidavit to the mother of the child
- Showing the results of the DNA test
This petition may be denied, however, if the court finds that the alleged father ignored a written notice of paternity requiring that he take a DNA test to prove or disprove paternity.
It can also be denied if in the past, he acknowledged that the child in question was his.
Finding An Experienced Family Lawyer
Child support laws are designed to protect the welfare and best interests of a child, and sometimes it means that a man must pay for the support of a child he did not know existed, or that is not his biological child.
These types of cases can be very complicated and need the care and expertise of a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney that will help you navigate through the challenges these cases pose. The team at The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire has the proficiency and the proven track record to provide you with outstanding service. Please call us today at 561-655-8844 for a personal legal consultation with Attorney Eric Cheshire.