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Man ordered to pay support for estranged wife's child

People in California may be surprised to learn that a man is facing having to pay child support for a 1-year-old child he did not father by a spouse he has not seen since 1999. The man, who lives in Iowa, received a letter and immediately phoned the Child Support Recovery Unit to explain the mistake. However, since he never divorced his wife, he is responsible for the child support. Under state law, a woman's husband is considered the father of any children she may have.

The man said that he offered to take a paternity test, but he was told it would not matter. He is trying to raise money to hire a lawyer in order to get divorced and de-establish paternity.

Even the man's ex-wife is not claiming that the child is his. She says the child was the result of a brief relationship, and that man was supposed to get the support letter.

California has similar laws that presume that a husband is always the father of a child born to his wife. The laws for disputing paternity are complex, and individuals who find themselves facing a request for child support for a child they do not believe is theirs may want to speak to an attorney. As in this case, the first step will probably be a paternity test, but there may be additional legal requirements. Fathers who do acknowledge paternity and who pay child support but who need modifications on that support amount may also want to consult an attorney. They must to go back through the legal system to request a modification due to a change in circumstances such as a job loss.

Source: New York Daily News, "Iowa Man Slapped With Child Support For a Baby That's Not His Because He Never Divorced the Mother He Hasn't Seen in 17 Years," Laura Bult, March 26, 2016

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