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When paternity laws conflict with reality

Years ago, the idea of having a child out of wedlock was so taboo that American lawmakers refused to consider the possibility. State paternity laws presumed that a child born to a married woman was the biological son or daughter of the woman’s husband.

Since then, thanks to technological advances, estranged and legally separated men have gained the ability to prove that they are not the father of a child they believe does not belong to them. And society has largely come to acknowledge that women sometimes have sex outside of their marriage. However, the law in some states has not kept pace with the times, leading to situations like one an Iowa man is going through.

The man says that state authorities have ordered him to pay child support to his wife’s child. The twist: he says he has been separated from his wife for nearly 17 years and could not possibly be the father.

According to the New York Daily News, the man’s wife told him that she became pregnant after a one-night stand, and that she intended that the other man pay child support. But when the man contacted the state Child Support Recovery Unit, offering to do a paternity test, he was told not to bother. State law in Iowa requires that the legal husband of a mother be liable for child support. Because the couple never divorced, the man must pay support under the law.

Child support matters do not have to be difficult and complicated, but sometimes there is a dispute between the parties. In these cases, parents need experienced and vigorous legal assistance to help them achieve a fair result.

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