Our society and family court system accepts that parents owe a duty to pay the cost of living and everyday expenses of their minor children. Sometimes genetic testing is necessary to determine the paternity of the child, and with it the obligation to pay support. But one Minnesota man recently found himself obligated to pay child support even though a paternity test showed he was not the father.
The child was born in 1994; the mother and the man at issue here were never married. In 1995, the man signed the paternity acknowledgment, and the state requested child support from him. The court ordered him to pay the child's health insurance as well as $50 per month in child support. The man now says he suspected he was not the biological father but did not raise the issue until six years ago when the court tried to increase the monthly support payments to $369 per month. At that point, another man was apparently identified as the boy's biological father.
The court's decision overturned a ruling from a district court, which concluded, based on the genetic testing, that the man should not have to pay child support. The Nebraska Supreme Court handed down a 5-2 split decision, with the majority stating that a genetic test was not enough to overrule a previous child support order based on an acknowledgment of paternity.
This case highlights an important issue for parents who are dealing with similar child support or paternity issues. It may be a good idea to consult with an attorney before signing an acknowledgment of paternity. Parents can also seek guidance if they are unable to provide the financial support or if a court order attempts to increase the support amount.
Source: Omaha.com, "Court rules man owes child support despite DNA tests," Martha Stoddard, May 17, 2014