Judge Orders Man To Pay $30,000 In Back Child Support For A Kid Everyone Confirms Isn’t His

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courtroom-judge-making-rulingIt’s rarely shocking to see stories of absentee parents owing tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid child support, but one Detroit man is having the opposite problem: he’s being forced to pay for a child that isn’t his. ABC 7 reports that a Michigan judge has ordered Carnell Alexander to pay $30,000 in back child support for a now-adult child both the court and the child’s mother acknowledge is not his.

The initial confusion over the child’s paternity began in the 80s when the child’s mother listed Alexander as the dad on a welfare application, even though she knew he was not the baby’s father. The action led to Alexander being legally named “dad by default” at a hearing he was never notified about and couldn’t attend because he was in jail at the time. In fact, Carnell had no knowledge he was listed as anyone’s father until half a decade later when he was arrested during a routine traffic stop for failing to make child support payments.

After his arrest, Alexander claims he tried to find the baby’s mother and remedy the situation but the address the court gave him was vacant. He continued searching and finally found her in 2013, at which point he obtained proof via DNA test that he is not the child’s father and is now trying to resolve the matter once and for all.

On Tuesday,  he went to the Third Judicial Circuit Court, hoping a judge would fix it.

Instead, his story inspired a different kind of outrage.

“I am outraged that Mr. Alexander for two and a half decades failed to take this matter seriously,” said Judge Kathleen McCarthy.

The judge lectured him on his irresponsibility — the motion to deny paternity must be filed within three years of the initial claim — and ordered him to pay the $30,000 in child support anyway. Alexander says there are a few very good reasons why he didn’t clear it up sooner:

For one, he says when he learned he was allegedly a father, he had just gotten out of prison.  He had no income and no savings.  He has an eighth grade education.  He could not find a lawyer to help him. He was on his own. He says while he may not have filed a certain motion required by the bureaucratic court system, he did make sure Friend of the Court workers and judges on the case knew he was not this child’s father.

The judge is outraged at the media for “casting this court in a negative light” but I think she did a good job of that all on her own. I know rules are rules and laws are laws, but this just seems grossly unfair. The child’s mother, the child, and the court all know he is not the father, but even beyond that, he should not be punished for not having access to the resources to fight this in a timely manner.

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