Saturday, July 28, 2007

Dads Pay Support for Other Men's Kids

DNA tests expose inconsistency in Tennessee courts

Five years ago, James Ridley was running scared, facing possible jail time after falling seriously behind on his child-support payments.

Ridley, left blind in one eye and permanently brain damaged after a brutal carjacking in 1995, owed $11,635 in support. The Nashville native said the court's solution, garnishing $104 from his weekly wages, left him nearly broke.

But there was something Ridley didn't know: The 9-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl he struggled to support were not his biological children. That bombshell would remain a secret until 2006, when DNA tests recommended by his lawyer revealed Ridley hadn't fathered either child by his former girlfriend. For the rest of the above story:

You would think that if a DNA test proves a man is not the father of a child that he should not be required to pay child support, but that is not the case. Thousands of men in Tennessee and maybe hundreds of thousands across America are paying child support for children that are not theirs. This is an outrageous injustice and should be corrected.

In Tennessee Rep. Stacy Campfield, (R-Knoxville) introduced a bill in the state legislature that would correct this injustice but unfortunately the bill did not become law.

“If a person was improperly imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, upon discovering irrefutable proof of innocence, the punishment should be set aside and the true criminal pursed,” says Campfield. “It is unjust and inconsistent logic to hold someone accountable for a crime he did not commit just to satisfy the victim’s need for justice. The same logic should apply in child support cases.”

For Campfield’s full essay on the issue: (does not open in new window, hit "go back" button to return)

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