Child Support Dilema

A north Florida man who has been paying child support for seven years, after he learned his daughter wasn't really his, may get some relief from the state Legislature.

Several lawmakers are looking at the situation, and have filed bills calling for fairness.

Contractor Bobby Rhames can’t afford health insurance these days because he’s paying 400 dollars a month in child support for a child that isn’t his.

Rhames and his girlfriend had a daughter 14 years ago. Seven years later they split. The little girl told Bobby she had two fathers. He got suspicious and had their DNA checked. Now, Rhames is fighting for what he terms fairness.

“She knew the whole time, so why doesn’t some of the blame go towards the mother. Instead of making all the fathers pay for this problem."

Florida allows suspicious fathers a year to challenge a determination of paternity. The courts have ruled that once a man starts paying child support it’s in the best interest of the child that he keep paying, even if he later finds out that he is not the child’s biological father.

State Representative Curtis Richardson has filed legislation that would allow men like Bobby to go back to court whenever they find out they aren’t the biological father.

"In many instances these men have started new families and that’s income that’s being taken away from their families."

For Bobby Rhames, the relief can’t come too soon.

“You know this is supposed to a free world, a free country, I don’t feel free. I feel like I’m a prisoner. I really do."

Bobby’s payments will end in four years when the girl turns 18, but Bobby says he’s going to keep fighting for other men who have been tricked.

An organization named Paternity Fraud is fighting for changes nationally in Child Support laws. They can be found at www.paternityfraud.com.


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