Houston man forced to pay child support for child that DNA proves isn’t his

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JEFF MCSHAN / KHOU 11 News

Posted on June 24, 2011 at 4:57 AM

HOUSTON -- A new state law says men no longer have to make child support payments if they discover the child is not theirs, but a Houston man says he still has to pay. 

Ray Thomas contacted KHOU 11 News saying he is frustrated because he owes more than $50,000, even though he is not the child’s father.

“They've been taking money out of my income tax -- taking my money and I haven't been able to pay my bills,” Thomas said.

Thomas claims he's a victim of mistaken paternity.

He said, in 1986 a woman he was dating had a baby and told Thomas it was his. In fact, he thought so too until the little girl's hair started to turn red. Thomas said he went to court numerous times trying to clear things up, but said the judge wouldn't hear it.

That's because up until this month, reversing a mistaken paternity case had been nearly impossible.

“It had been an issue because it's not fair,” said Cheryl Alsandor, a family law attorney. “On one hand, a DNA can clear a defendant of a crime years later, but it didn’t seem to be fair that it couldn't clear a man of paternity.”

But times are changing.

This year, the Texas Legislature unanimously voted to change the law. It is already on the books. DNA proof can reverse parental rights.

“And now with the passing of this law, a man who is not the father can now sort of be free of that title and the proper man can be put into place to establish that relationship,” she said.

But we learned the new legislation will not help Thomas because his case is old and the courts are looking not backward, but forward.

And the attorney general's office confirmed for us that Thomas still must pay $52,000 in back child support -- $13,000 of that is interest.

Thomas is being billed even though he and his suspected daughter paid $450 for their own DNA test.

“And it said zero percent the daddy,” Thomas said.

Thomas took the DNA results to court but the judge wouldn't accept it, he said.

“I don’t understand the judge can just give you a baby that ain’t yours and don’t try to try you, and I don’t understand it,” he said.

He said he doesn't understand how the state of Texas can still take part of every one of his paychecks.

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