Child support problems can pose unique challenges

Whenever parents agree to a child support order, the state has the authority to ensure that order is upheld. If it is not, the state can impose penalties or harsh consequences on the parent who is not living up to that child support order. However, those consequences were particularly troubling for one man who was ordered to pay child support for a child who wasn’t his. Pennsylvania parents or individuals in the midst of a paternity or child support case may be interested in the case.

The man was said to have fathered a child in 1987, according to state documentation. He was allegedly served with papers at his father’s home related to a paternity proceeding. That process server apparently claimed that the man refused to sign the summons. However, documents later showed the man was in prison at the time of service and physically unable to refuse to sign, seemingly supporting his contention that he was not aware of the legal action against him.

The man, once aware the state was claiming that he owed child support, stated that the child was not his. Once the mother was found, she also stated the child wasn’t his and that she only put his name on the birth certificate because she needed to declare a father in order to receive state benefits. DNA proof also backed up the claim of the man not being the father. The state dropped the issue of any child support debt allegedly owed directly to the child’s mother, but the state still claims that he owes the state some $30,000 related to the case, although the specifics of that alleged financial obligation were not further detailed.

The man in this child support case fought the judgment against him and relayed that part of the problem was that his minimal education was not sufficient enough to enable him to understand what was unfolding and how it could affect him. The legal system pertaining to child support and state penalties for nonpayment can be confusing for some. Anyone in Pennsylvania who is unclear about a summons or a judgment may benefit from seeking professional advice to clarify the situation and help avoid negative consequences or further legal action.

Source:, “Detroit man fights $30k child support bill for kid that is not his”, Kim Russell, Oct. 24, 2014