Fi May 31, 8:55 AM ET
To: National and City Desks
Contact: Jeffery Leving, 312-807-3990, or Jane Spies, 330-534-8948, both for The Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving, Ltd.
CHICAGO, May 31 /U.S. Newswire/ — Carnell A. Smith is a father who is forced by court order to pay child support for another man’s child. This child is neither his biological nor adopted child. Smith has tried to get the lower courts to overturn the child support order, but they have refused.
Carnell Smith is now asking the U.S. Supreme Court (news – web sites) to hear his DNA “paternity fraud” case. Nationally renowned fathers’ rights attorney and advocate, Jeffery M. Leving of Chicago, has filed an appearance with the high court to represent Smith.
Although this court ruling sounds unusual, it isn’t. There are countless men who find themselves in Smith’s situation.
Partially as a result of the availability of DNA paternity testing, men are discovering in alarming numbers that children they believed were their biological offspring are not. It was reported that in 28 percent of paternity tests conducted in 1999, the man being tested was not the biological father. Nevertheless, many of these men continue to be liable for child support for other men’s children or suffer the consequences of jail.
This can happen to married men because many states adhere to a 500-year-old English common-law doctrine that presumes a married man is the father of a child born of the marriage. Never-married men can find themselves in this precarious position through default paternity and child support judgments. Such a judgment can be court ordered without the alleged father’s knowledge. For example, the alleged dad does not show up at court to contest the paternity action because he did not know about the court date. This can result when the alleged father is not personally served notice of the court date by a process server or law enforcement officer.
“The issue is crystal clear. Paternity fraud is just as reprehensible as any other kind of fraud from which Americans need protection. When we condone fraud in paternity DNA cases, we undermine our entire system of justice. It’s time to correct this injustice,” said Leving.
This is an issue with urgent national significance.
“Paternity fraud is the only crime where the victim is persecuted for the actions of the guilty party,” said Smith. “My case is representative of many similar cases nationwide. A correct decision by the U.S. Supreme Court would offer justice and relief to many.”
“My petition to the high court argues that the Georgia statute enables the Georgia courts to have the power to force biological fathers to pay child support, but this power does not extend to forcing a non-relative who did not adopt a child to pay,” said Smith.
“Making men pay child support for children proven by DNA testing not to be theirs is not in the best interests of children and families. It can also deprive children of ever knowing their true biological fathers,” said Leving.
Nationally, this issue has picked up great momentum. Ohio and, most recently, Georgia have passed legislation that allows men proven by DNA testing not to be the father of a child to be released from child support payments. Georgia passed paternity legislation with votes overwhelmingly in favor of releasing non-dads from being forced to pay child support. In Georgia, the legislation passed the House 163-0 and the Senate 45-5. California is currently considering similar legislation.
Leving believes that this U.S. Supreme Court case could bring relief to countless victims of paternity fraud in America and stop the needless suffering of children and families. Otherwise, the laws dealing with paternity and child support issues must be changed gradually state by state, which will be unnecessarily time-consuming and will prolong the injustice.
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