Monday, January 26, 2009

Child Support: Man forced to pay for child not his

A 19-year Army veteran, on his third tour in Iraq, is being forced to pay child support for a boy that isn't his.

Master Sgt. Christopher Sprowson's first wife had an affair, became pregnant, and gave birth to the boy, now 13. Genetic tests proved the child was not his. But a court says that doesn't matter. From the Kansas City Star:

According to Kansas law, a husband is the “presumed father” of his wife’s children — even if the children were fathered by another man.

Because the boy’s mother could not tell the court who the father was, the judge ruled Sprowson had to pay.

Sprowson's ex-wife said she never sought child support and would forgo the money. But the state required the payments because his ex-wife once received welfare. It's the state of Kansas that wants the money, to recover the welfare payments to Sprowson's ex-wife.

On Jan. 21, Sprowson's current wife, Karey, asked the legislature to change the law. The state wants more than $10,000, which Sprowson, and his three children, can't afford, Karey said.

She said the court has ordered that Sprowson's military pay be garnished to satisfy the debt, and that his tax refund will be seized.


  1. Unbelievable. Such an inconsistent and unfair system. A paternity test should eliminate his obligation as the biological father should obviously be the parent supporting the child. I'll bet he's not exactly stepping up to the plate if the ex husband is on the hook.

  2. This is done - not to say that it's right - to alleviate the strain on the child but also mainly to alleviate the strain on public funds. This is seen most typically in cases where the father knew the child not to be his from the outset but raised the child as his own anyway, then he and the mother had a falling out. Hell of a position to be in, one way or the other.
    It's legal parallel is also illustrated above: once you say "I do" you're on the hook forever, even after a divorce - if your former spouse ever makes use of public funds they will come looking for you.