Child support enforcement agencies are not infallible. Mistakes in identity
of fathers are made all over the country, including in New York. Sometimes, when a
child support case is initiated, the agency identifies the wrong man.
This is just what happened to one man that received a letter from the Child
Support Enforcement Agency in his county indicating that he had been identified
by a woman as the father of her almost 3-year-old child. The only problem
was that the 77-year-old man didn't even know the mother. The letter
went on to say that he was to be at child support offices on a certain
day at a certain time with financial information in hand.
The man and his wife decided to hire an attorney right away. The attorney
was able to show DSS officials that the man was not the father and he
was able to make sure that no further action would be pursued. The ordeal
cost the man $300. Officials say retaining a lawyer probably wouldn't
have been necessary if the man had just cooperated. But that's easy to say.
All this happened in another state, but it could have happened in New York.
The man never received an explanation as to why the mix-up occurred. He
says that if authorities had done their jobs it shouldn't have. This
man was lucky in that it didn't take much to prove mistakes had been
made; however, others may not be as lucky.
Any man in New York who receives a letter like this would be well advised
to consult an attorney to learn what their rights are and to get the matter
resolved if a mistake has been made. Even if the issue can easily be resolved
with a DNA test, it may be wise to consult an attorney first. No one should
be held responsible for child support if the child is not theirs.
Source: Gaston Gazette, "What to do if she says you're the father," Michael Barrett, Oct. 22, 2012