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Texas man ordered to pay $65K in child support for kid that’s not even his

A Texas man is fighting a court order that requires him to pay nearly $65,000 in child support payments for a kid that’s not even his. Andrew Unangst / Getty Images

A Texas man is fighting a court order that requires him to pay nearly $65,000 in child support payments for a kid that’s not even his.

A Houston court ordered Gabriel Cornejo to pay child support even after a DNA test revealed he is not the biological father of the child his ex-girlfriend had 16 years ago, according to ABC 13 News.

“I never thought in my whole life, I would have to defend myself or something that I am innocent of,” Cornejo told the news station.

READ MORE: Child support payments won’t count as income for Ontarians on social assistance

ABC 13 News reported that in 2003, Cornejo’s ex-girlfriend told a court that the man was the only possible father of her child. The state of Texas began assessing child support payments which now total nearly $65,000. Cornejo claims he was never told about the support payments.

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However, according to the Houston Chronicle, Cornejo’s ex-girlfriend made a claim in court that support payments were being taken off Cornejo’s paycheque.

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“There were three garnishments of $31 each when he worked at a dealership. He’s never gotten a letter from the state of Texas,” Cornejo’s lawyer Cheryl Coleman told the Chronicle. “At issue is he’s still not the father. Nobody is disputing that. The mother is not disputing that.”

The lawyer explained that under Texas’ family code, one must pay child support that accrued prior to the DNA test proving one is in fact not the biological father of the child.

“I’ve researched the records and found that there is an issue with the service where they served him back in 2002,” Coleman told the Chronicle. “There are some anomalies with how this case [was] handled by the attorney general’s office. He was never served with those documents in 2002 when the actual paternity petition was filed against him.”

READ MORE: Self-described ‘deadbeat dad’ says court-ordered payments are too high

The lawyer representing Cornejo’s ex-girlfriend told ABC 13 News that the child support payments should have been addressed years ago when Cornejo’s paycheques were being garnished.

“Don’t stick your head in the sand because it’s not going to go away,” Carel Stith said. “There can be consequences even if you don’t do anything.”

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Cornejo’s lawyer also suggested to ABC 13 News the pair should have addressed the child support issue years ago.

“They say he should have fought back then, and he failed to do so,” Coleman said. “But how can you fight something you don’t know anything about?”

If a Texas court denies the reopening of the case next month, Cornejo will be on the hook for money or face time in jail.

 

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