Man Just Found Out He Was Father of 18 Year Old Because Mother Trying to Collect Support

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“Back story: February 15th 1993 I had sex with a women (protection used) it was a one night stand.  Four months later she meets up with me again, tells me she is pregnant and it is mine.  I step up, provide financial support, went to the baby shower, listened to her on the phone, etc.  Then in August she moved to Texas (I am in Arizona) – I get a call in late September that she is in labor and needs me to come to Texas – at this point the dates didn’t match up, so I requested a paternity test – provided her with all my information (full name, DOB, SSN, employer, etc.) but told her I was not sending any more money until paternity was established.

We never spoke again, two letters were sent to her over the next few years again requesting paternity.

Fast forward to October 6th, 2011 – I get served with paternity papers, I take the test, child is mine and turns 18 shortly after – I got hit with 3 years of back child support, and current suport until June of this year.  I was told by the mother that she did file for paternity and the state of Texas told her I was dead (certificate of death on record) – I never tried to hide, kept current information on file with the state of Arizona – paid taxes, kept good records, etc..

Is there anything I can do to look into how and why it took 18 years to establish paternity – the state won’t give me any information and with paternity now established doesn’t care – I can’t get any custody of an 18 year old man, I feel there is some kind of fraud happening here and the mother kept the child from me expecting to raise the child as her own and then seek reimbursement before the statute of limitation expired on his 18th birthday which she did.

I am current on my child support and trying to pay of the arrears, but need answers.”

This is a very unfortunate situation, for both you, and your son.  What doesn’t add up is that you say that there is a certificate of death on record, which suggests that someone legitimately thought that you were dead.  Either that, or there is no such a certificate on record, in which case the mother may well be lying about that.

Either way, if the mother intentionally withheld your son from you until just in the nick of time to collect child support, it is, unfortunately, not fraud (although we think that it should be).  The answer as to “how and why it took 18 years to establish paternity” seems to be pretty clearly that the mother chose not to – until now.  The mechanism that lead to the establishment of paternity now was almost certainly the act of the mother filing for child support – or perhaps she filed for state assistance such as welfare – in either case, the state will usually require that paternity be established.

So, the two most likely scenarios are that a) she intentionally chose to establish paternity now and hit you up for child support, or b) she applied for state aid, and that triggered the *state* to start the paternity action.

In our experience, the latter scenario is the more likely. It’s likely that the mother never intended to contact you at all – maybe never even told your son about you – but once she set the ball in motion to collect state assistance, it was out of her hands, and she was required to divulge your identity and to prove paternity so that the state could go after child support from you.