A Texas man will no longer be forced to make child support payments for a child that isn’t his, but the state may still try to collect the $21,000 he owes in back payments.
KRIV News reports Willie Carson has been making payments for the 13-year-old girl for years because the girl’s mother listed his name as the father of the child on the birth certificate.
“I've never seen the child. I never spoke to the child. I don't know what the child looks like,” Carson told KRIV recently.
He said he struggled for years, having his wages garnished and going without.
“There were days that I didn't eat," he said. "I went without electricity."
He finally got a DNA test that proved he was not the child's father. The girl’s mother reportedly even sent a letter to the court saying he wasn’t the father of her daughter.
With that proof, the state sent him a letter saying his retirement assets were no longer frozen and he no longer had to make payments. But it hasn’t let him off the hook for $21,000 he still owes to the state for money already paid to the girl and her mother.
That’s because of the way Texas state law is written.
A man getting named as the father of a child that isn’t biologically his is not as unusual an occurrence as one might think. According to KRIV, the Texas Attorney General's Office website even lists the topic among its frequently asked questions.
For years, not even a DNA test could get a man off the hook for payments once he had been named as a father.
Texas legislators changed that recently, but, as the Daily Mail reports, the law was written in such a way that it only relieves the man of responsibility for future payments. If the man should owe money for payments already made by the state, the man is still responsible for paying that money back, even if it has been proven he isn’t the father.
Carson is scheduled to speak with a judge Monday to argue that he shouldn’t be obligated to make those back payments.
He said he is relieved that, after battling for nearly 13 years, the state finally accepted he wasn’t the girl’s dad and he is hopeful the judge will agree with his position on the money owed.
“Yes I'm hoping for it but the judge has the last say so,” he said.
Photo Credit: WikiCommons, KRIV News