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Not the father of the kid? Pay anyway - until now.

I'm going to just put the link to the Google links on this case. I read the legal article today at work in the legal journal. It's kind of a strange area of law, my opinion. The situation before this case came out seems mighty weird to me. What do you think?

Normally, when a husband and wife are married (even if not living together, etc.), there is a legal presumption that if the woman has a child, that child is the product of the husband (now father).

But in this case, there were two children that this particular woman claimed were the product of a sexual (not marital) with a man named Manuel Navarro. The woman attested to this accusation when the State of California pursued the father since the kids were receiving public funds. Navarro was served in a paternity action at his sister's house, by substitute service on his sister, and he maintains that he never knew of the case, much less the judgment against him to pay for the kids from 1996 on. Normally, the fathers have six months to contest the court findings in these matters.

But this time, the Court involved did someting that is making real waves - the judge said that he would not make Navarro pay for the kids when it was conclusively proven through DNA that he was NOT the father of either child.

Here is one site that talks about some of the case and the issues it raises. The Google site gives the actual opinions (not the one I was reading today, but good enough), and explores how unfair this situation can be to tag men who are not the biological fathers, with permanent legal status as "the dad" and child support, etc.

"When an unwed mother applies for welfare in California, the Department of Child Support Services routinely requires her to name the father(s) of her children.

The information provided is often incomplete. Moreover, even though the mother signs a declaration under penalty of perjury, false declarations go unpunished.

In March 1996, Los Angeles County filed a complaint to establish the paternity and child-support obligations of a "Manuel Nava" who had been named as the father of two boys receiving public assistance.

Based on the information the mother provided, authorities determined that Navarro was the father in question and served him with a complaint.

The county says it made "substitute service" of its complaint by leaving a copy of the summons with "Jane Doe," who was identified as Navarro?s "sister" and "co-tenant." Another copy was sent by first-class mail.

The complaint would have asked Navarro to file a written denial of paternity within 30 days, as mandated by federal law. Otherwise, fatherhood would be presumed.

Navarro did not respond to the complaint within the 30-day time period ? he claims he never received it.

In July 1996, a court judgment established Navarro?s paternity and ordered $247 a month in child-support payments.

Penalties for evading child-support payments can include the inability to obtain a driver?s license and other business or professional "licenses" such as teaching credentials.

Credit ratings can also be ruined and the State Department may refuse to issue the "deadbeat dad" a passport. Thus, even if the court-ordered support is not garnished from wages, falsely named fathers have powerful incentives to pay up."


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