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Wrongly-ordered child support payments will not be reimbursed

Many Louisiana parents are aiming to confirm paternity of a child in 2012. With more unmarried couples having children, there has been an increase in the DNA testing procedure according to some reports. Paternity tests are often used in determining child support. Without them, a father can lose his rights to see his child. Conversely, a man can be wrongly ordered to make these payments when he is not the father.

It is not uncommon that a man is mistakenly named as the father of a child. Without proper representation, he could end up paying for a child that is not his. In some cases, his wages may be garnished. Legally, there is no reimbursement for these mistaken payments.

Recently, a soldier was sued for child support while he was stationed in Iraq. The court issued a default judgment in his absence and he was named the father of a child. His wages were garnished until he returned to the U.S. in 2009. Upon his return, he took a paternity test and it confirmed that he was not the father of the child.

Under the rights named in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, however, soldiers are protected from default judgments when they cannot appear in court due to military duty. An appeals court ruled that the state was wrong to issue a default judgment in this case.

However, the state is not responsible for reimbursing the soldier for the $2,735 he paid in incorrect child support payments as a result of the erroneous judgment. A state cannot allow retroactive modifications of child support payments under a federal law.

Although most people would agree that this particular situation is unfair, little has been done in the way of addressing this issue. In 2009, a bill was introduced that would allow men to recover any mistakenly-paid child support, but the measured failed.

If a parent is unsure about or needs to confirm the biological parentage of a child, it could be very important to obtain a DNA test. A paternity test may grant a biological father rights to his child. It would also prevent the possibility that a man would be making child support payments for a child that is not his.

Source: ClarionLedger.com, "Soldier denied reimbursement in paternity case," Jan. 6, 2012

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