Man Being Forced to Pay Child Support for Child Who is Not His

My fiance received a false order for child support from Division of Family Services in Missouri in December of 2010. He called them to schedule a hearing to disagree (this is what it said to do on the paperwork), because he is not the father of the said child. They told him he must get a lawyer to petition it, and we did not have the 1200.00 for the initial lawyer fee, nor the 500.00 additional needed for DNA testing nor have had the money since (especially since they have been taking half his wages in garnishment).  They established paternity based on an affidavit that he supposedly signed  at the child’s birth stating he was the father. He did not sign this paper, and was not even present at the hospital at the time of the child’s birth to sign the paper. He asked them to send him a copy of the paper he is said to have signed and when we showed it to a friend’s father who is a lawyer, the first thing he noticed is it is not notarized, and secondly that the two witnesses who signed it put their signature in the wrong spot, (my fiances signature is also not his own) making the document illegal, yet the state still used it to go after him and “prove” child support.

The problem is, we can NOT afford to take this to court with a lawyer and they tell us we have no other options. We tried getting help with legal services that are discounted through DFS but they said they just recently stopped offering help on paternity cases, (convenient for them) so we are out of luck basically.

My fiance was in a relationship with the mother when she got pregnant, but not married to her. At the actual time of conception he was incarcerated and when he was released she was 3 months pregnant but she swore it was his (he had been in a 120 day treatment and had been gone from the home around 4.5 months counting time in county jail for processing). He did not go to the hospital when the child was born because he was embarrassed and knew deep down it was not his, but out of his love for the mother at the time, he stayed with her until the child was around 4 or 5 months old. All of their friends and family knew the child was not his, and he never claimed it as his own.

This is just ridiculous and we feel victimized.

Unfortunately, where you say you can not afford to take this to court with a lawyer, the reality is that you can’t afford *not* to get a lawyer to take this to court.  Your fiance needs someone to demonstrate to the court and the child support system that he is *not* the father, and the only way to do this is with a paternity test.  You should talk with another lawyer, who may be willing to accept a smaller retainer, and you should also contact any legal aid clinics, local law schools, and the Missouri state bar association, to see if there are any free or low-cost law clinics available to help you.  When you talk with them, find out if he may be able to file to have the state reimburse him for the money they have taken after you informed them that the question of paternity was at issue.  You may also have a claim for reimbursement, under civil law, from the mother, depending on the facts.

Every month he waits is a month where money is being taken by the state from his wages so, again, he really can’t afford to *not* get this taken care of.