An Iowa man is calling for a change in legislation after he was told he was required to pay child support for another man’s child (video below).
Joe Vandusen said he thought it was a joke when he received a certified letter from the Iowa Department of Human Resources in February, WQAD 8 reported. The letter informed him that his long estranged wife had another child, and that he needed to pay child support.
"I opened it up and it was child support, for a kid that is not even mine," Vandusen told WQAD 8. "We've had no contact whatsoever in 16 or 17 years, and the child just turned one year old.”
Vandusen and his wife broke up, but never legally divorced. By law, he is still considered legally responsible.
"I explained to her [the judge] this is not my child,” Vandusen said. “I'm willing to do a paternity test and she flat out told me it does not matter, you're legally married to her. You're going to pay child support.”
Iowa is one of many states that require husbands to pay child support for any child born during a marriage.
Vandusen, who already has two biological children and is helping to raise two other non-biological children with his current girlfriend, said he disagrees with the legislation.
"I think it's wrong, it shows Iowa needs to change their laws,” he said.
A spokesperson from the Iowa Department of Human Resources said Vandusen’s best chance at beating the case is to petition the court to “de-establish” paternity. However, that would require going to court and hiring an attorney.
Vandusen found an attorney who wanted a $2,000 retainer fee.
"Unless I come up with that magical $2,000 to pay the lawyer, I don't know what I can do," said Vandusen, adding that he was recently laid off and struggling financially.