Parents owe $14,460 in case of mistaken paternity, judge says
Judge David Roper said he felt badly for Kenneth Samuels when he learned the child he had fathered for 11 years wasn’t his.
Justice was also shortchanged, the judge said, because Mr. Samuels had been paying child support all of those years.
Last month, Judge Roper ruled that Jamie Hope, the child’s mother, and Oba Wallace, the child’s biological father, would have to repay Mr. Samuels $14,460 in child support he had paid since 1997.
Such an order is unusual, but not unique.
"We have seen it happen before," said Sandra Jarrett of the state’s Child Support Recovery Unit.
Usually there is no intent to defraud, Ms. Jarrett said. Mothers who have had relationships with more than one man might not know who the biological father is without a DNA test.
Ms. Jarrett estimated 40 percent to 45 percent of their new cases are filed by a custodial parent who never married, and a DNA test is requested to establish paternity.
Child Support Services helps about 30,000 families in Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties. Across Georgia, 500,000 families are assisted, Ms. Jarrett said.
In Mr. Samuels’ case, it began April 22, 1997, when Ms. Hope opened a Child Support Services case that named Mr. Samuels the father of her child.
Mr. Samuels said he never had any reason to doubt the child was his. He signed the birth certificate, and he consented to an order to pay child support.
Mr. Wallace told the judge at a hearing last summer that he heard from different people that the child looked like him. The child called him daddy when she saw him in town, Mr. Wallace said.
Mr. Wallace said he told Ms. Hope he would take care of the child financially if he was the biological father. They decided to get a DNA test last summer, Mr. Wallace said.
The DNA test proved Mr. Wallace was the biological father, and he filed a court petition to legally establish paternity. The case was assigned to Judge Roper, who had no problem with signing the order that established legal paternity. But he said he was troubled by the position in which it left Mr. Samuels.
The judge questioned Mr. Wallace and Ms. Hope about when they first suspected Mr. Wallace was the biological father. Both eventually admitted it was around the time the child was 2.
"I’ve never heard (of) this gentleman until this year, and I never knew that she was seeing anyone else," Mr. Samuels told the judge last summer.
Ms. Hope told the judge she wanted a paternity test in 1997 when the baby was born but that Mr. Samuels declined. He denied that.
"You swore that he was the father when you took out a child support action," Judge Roper told Ms. Hope. He said he considered that action fraudulent and ordered Ms. Hope to repay Mr. Samuels the $14,460 he had paid in child support payments.
In February, Judge Roper ruled Mr. Wallace was liable to Mr. Samuels for the back child support, too. Judge Roper said in explaining his ruling that once paternity is established, a father can be required to pay back support to the time of birth. Since Mr. Wallace’s paternity was established, he was responsible for the child support since the birth in 1997, and responsible for repaying Mr. Samuels.
Ms. Jarrett said that when a child support case is opened, the man identified as a child’s father can request a DNA test. If the test comes back negative, the case against that man is closed. If it is positive, then paternity is established and Child Support Services works to obtain a court order for child support.
A man can also petition the court directly to request a legal determination of paternity, which is what Mr. Wallace did.
Paternity establishes who is responsible for the financial support of a child. If a father also desires visitation rights, he must legitimize the child, too, Judge Roper said. Although Child Support Services cannot help with visitation issues, the office can refer parents to mediation.
Child Support Services will help fathers with employment issues. It operates the Georgia Fatherhood Program to provide job counseling, training, educational assistance, placement assistance and other services. In Georgia, 25 percent of children have a case with the Child Support Services, according to the state Department of Human Resources.
SOURCE: AugustaChronicle.com in an article by Sandy Hudson
The state agency in charge of collecting and distributing child-support payments has streamlined the DNA-collection process used in paternity cases, and Athens is one of the test sites that will show whether the time-saving change works.
State officials are trying out the DNA program in the Office of Child Support Services in Athens and Newnan, according to the state Department of Human Resources, which oversees the child support services agency.
Medical technicians in the Athens office at 850 Hawthorne Ave. now are allowed to get DNA samples, designed to prove the identity of a father in child-support cases, by taking oral swabs from the adult and child involved in a particular case. The new method saves at least a week in obtaining results, said Mike Patrick, manager of the Athens office.
Previously, the DHR referred all paternity testing to an outside contractor, and the process could take up to a month or more in some cases.
Some individuals do not have the desire or ability to hire a lawyer to represent them in a traditional fashion, but they may need legal help with a particular issue or portion of their case.
The Cobb County Bar Association’s Family Law and Younger Lawyers Sections have worked together to provide a number of attorneys who will offer specific, limited legal services at set rates. Information on this type of legal assistance will be provided to workshop participants.
This workshop will assist you with the following case types:
* Divorce * Paternity/Legitimation
*Contempt * Modification
Navigating through the legal system can be extremely difficult. Each case is individualized by its own set of facts; however, there are some basic rules that all cases must follow which this workshop will address.
No workshop can teach you everything you need to know about representing yourself in any legal action, but this workshop is designed to answer some of the basic questions you may have:
What information do I need in order to file?
Are there mandatory forms that I need?
How do I schedule my case for a hearing ?
What are the operating procedures of the Court?
Forms for these case types will be available for purchase at the seminar.
The cost for the forms are $15.00 per packet. Cash Only—Exact Change Required
For further information, please call the ADR office at (770) 528-1812.
|Thursday, November 8th, 2007
||6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
The location for all classes will be:
Cobb County Superior Court Building
(Building "D" 6th floor Jury Assembly Room)
30 Waddell Street
Marietta, GA 30090-9642
Driving Directions | Marietta Square Map
Parking is provided in the jury parking lot on the north end of Waddell St.
SOURCE: Clerk of Superior Court of Cobb County
A lawyer for Chris Rock said Monday that a court-ordered DNA test proved Rock is not the father of a 13-year-old boy whose mother tried to sue the comedian for support earlier this year.
Rock’s attorney, John Mayoue of Atlanta, said a Bulloch County judge sent results of the paternity test to lawyers on both sides of the case.
"The results of the test are that Chris Rock is not the father of this child," Mayoue said. "It is conclusive."
The mother, however, disputed the test results.
Kali Bowyer, who lives in Bulloch County west of Savannah, tried in March to file a paternity lawsuit against Rock seeking child support and medical coverage for her son, Jordan. She withdrew the lawsuit after court officials told her it was outside the southeast Georgia county’s jurisdiction because Rock is a New Jersey resident.
However, Rock asked the Georgia court in April to start paternity proceedings to resolve the case. Bulloch County Superior Court Judge John R. Turner ordered DNA testing on Rock and the boy June 8.
Rock and his wife, Malaak, said in a statement Monday they were happy to put the case to rest. They accused Bowyer of telling "multiple lies" to sell her story to tabloids.
"We also express our deepest prayers for the welfare of Ms. Bowyer’s son who has continually been embarrassed and exposed in the media by his mother," Rock’s statement said.
Bowyer said Monday she had never received money for her story and she believed Rock had violated a confidentiality agreement by making the paternity test results public.
"I could’ve sworn we weren’t supposed to talk about it until we were done with mediation," Bowyer said.
She said she planned to ask the judge to order another DNA test to challenge the results of the one that ruled out Rock as her child’s father.
Bowyer, 35, said she met Rock at a Los Angeles nightclub when she was living in California 13 years ago.
She denied making any money from the case despite offers of thousands of dollars from television shows and tabloid magazines.
"I am sick and tired of being made out to be a liar and a fraud," she said.
Rock recently directed and starred in the film "I Think I Love My Wife," and is behind the hit television series "Everybody Hates Chris," which is based on his childhood. He and his wife have been married for 10 years and have two young children.
SOURCE: Fulton County Daily Report in a story by
SOURCE: Atlanta Legal Aid and Legal Aid Georgia
WHY DO I NEED THE PUTATIVE FATHER REGISTRY?
You should consider registering your relationship with a child on the Putative Father Registry if:
- You believe that you might be the father of a child
- Your child’s mother is preventing you from having contact with your child
- You don’t know where your minor child is living
The Putative Father Registry can help you find out about any adoptions that may be filed regarding the child. You should also receive notice of other court proceedings that try to terminate your parental rights to the child.
HOW DO I REGISTER?
The Registry is maintained by the Vital Records section of the Georgia Department of Human Resources. The Putative Father Registry contains the name, address and social security number of anyone who claims he is or claims he may be the father of a child.
Sometimes your name will automatically appear on the Registry. Sometimes you must register for your name to appear on the Registry.
You are automatically registered if your name appears on a child’s birth certificate. Your name can appear on a child’s birth certificate if you signed the birth certificate with the mother’s permission. It can also appear on a child’s birth certificate if you were legally married to the child’s mother when the child was born. Finally, if there is a child support order in place for you to pay support for the child, then your name may automatically appear on the Registry.
If you are not automatically registered, you should choose the type of registration that fits your situation. Your registration can claim that either you are the father of a child, or that you are possibly the father of a child.
If your name appears on the Registry, the information on the registry may be used to help establish your child support obligations to the child.
IF I ACKNOWLEDGE PATERNITY ON THE REGISTRY, CAN I DENY IT LATER?
Yes. Generally, you can rescind or ‘undo’ your acknowledgment of paternity any time before a child support or other order is entered that establishes that you are the father of the child. If the mother also signed the Registry, agreeing that you were the father of the child, your ability to deny paternity is more limited. In this case, you can have up to 60 days to rescind or ‘undo’ your acknowledgment of paternity. Within this 60-day period, you can rescind or ‘undo’ your acknowledgment any time unless a court enters an order determining that you are the father. If you discover you are not the child’s father after this 60-day period or after a court order, then you should speak to an attorney about filing a court case to rescind or ‘undo’your acknowledgment of paternity.
WHERE CAN I GET A REGISTRATION FORM?
You can find a Putative Father Registry Registration Form in any county Vital Records Registrar’s Office, in county Health Departments, in Probate Court offices or at the State Office of Vital Records.
You may obtain the form online from the Department of Human Resources, Division of Vital Records. To go to their website, click HERE.
What happens when a woman has sex with twin brothers within hours of each other and then becomes pregnant? How do you determine which brother is the father and which is the uncle? Unfortunately, even the best DNA tests money can buy can’t answer that question today.
Read the entire story regarding this paternity battle with a twist.
Source: ABC News.
SOURCE FOR POST: Oklahoma Family Law Blog