A judge in a state that borders Maryland has ordered a man to pay a back child support bill even though the man proved that the child was not his own; however, the catch is that he only has to pay $1 a month on the bill for what will amount to the rest of his life. The court allowed him to do so without having to pay interest or other penalties.
Some Howard County child support lawyers and others may initially see this as an unusual step in child support enforcement. However, it may be that the judge was trying to balance out the rigors of the law of his state against the fairness of a man having to pay child support when he has no parental rights to that child.
The issue in this case is that the man signed the birth certificate for that child. In many states, including Maryland, a man can acknowledge that he is the father of a child by signing an affidavit. Normally, a man will sign this affidavit at the time of the child’s birth and will also sign the birth certificate at the same time.
While there may be good reasons for doing so, men need to understand that if they sign this type of affidavit, they thereby assume the legal obligation to support the child. They may be subject to child support enforcement efforts even if they later discover through DNA testing that they are not the biological father of the child.
In this case, the man had been ordered to pay $200 a month for the support of the child. The judge relieved the man from this obligation, but the judge also found that because the man had legally acknowledged that he was the child’s father, he was still responsible to pay approximately $23,000 in back support. The man acknowledged that he did not get everything he wanted out of his court hearing, but he seemed pleased that he would only have to pay $1 a month, interest-free.
Source: NBC 12, “Judge orders $1 a month in child support for the next 1000+ years,” Yvette Yeon, Feb. 27, 2013.
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