While surfing the Internet at work the other day, I stumbled upon a sad story about an Oklahoma man named Thomas. He’s is being forced to pay child support for a child that is technically not his, which is kind of like buying earthquake insurance, having your home damaged by an earthquake, and then finding out your earthquake policy doesn’t cover “man-made” earthquakes (which they don’t).
Via The Daily Mail:
An Oklahoma man is being forced to pay child support for another man’s child because he ordered a paternity test too late.
Thomas, who did not give his last name, asked for a paternity test for his three year old son when his marriage fell apart.
He and his ex wife married after she got pregnant in high school. Thomas said at the time he had no reason to assume the baby was not his.
He ordered the test too late? I guess there’s now a statute of limitations on being a parent? That’s not good. I guess that means every father should check the DNA of their children, because that’s how you build a solid, trusting relationship! But, Thomas didn’t do that, instead he married her. Which is what teens do in Oklahoma.
When the couple’s marriage fell apart around the time the baby turned three, something led Thomas to ask for a paternity test.
He took the test twice and both showed he was absolutely not the father. But it did not matter because in Oklahoma a man has to question paternity within two years. Legally, the non-biological child he was raising was his.
Thomas said: ‘I wish I was telling a lie. I wish it wasn’t the truth but it is.’
‘That’s what makes it so crazy. Everyone I talk to about this can’t believe where the court system is coming from.’
News On 6 reports a judge initially ruled in favor of Thomas. But after revisiting the law, the judge ordered the duped dad to pay $500 per month in child support plus $15,000 in back support plus interest.
I can’t imagine the mental anguish of someone put in this situation. I have two kids, who I love with all my heart, it would destroy me to find out that they weren’t mine. That’s why I declined to take a DNA test, despite both of my children being half-Asain.
The law that is screwing Thomas is summarized as follows:
In conclusion, there is a presumption of paternity for a child born of a marriage. A biological father of a child born outside of marriage must take affirmative action to establish a legal presumption of paternity.’
Once established, the presumption is rebuttable until the child’s second birthday. After that time, the presumption is not rebuttable unless the presumed father, mother and biological father all agree to adjudicate the paternity of the child. If there is a doubt, the father should take legal action before the child’s second birthday and request genetic testing to prove the biological connection, otherwise it will be difficult if not impossible to overcome the presumption of paternity.
I get the feeling that this law was written before DNA testing could be used. If DNA testing can be used to free a person who was wrongfully sent the prison, why can’t we use it to free a dude sentenced to pay for a child that isn’t his? And what are the chances that his ex is going to give up free money until the child turns 18? I’d say slim to none. It’s like she won the white trash Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes. Which I’m pretty sure is just the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes.
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