WFMY News 2 Greensboro, NC
2 Wants to Know brings you a story even we found hard to believe. The state says a man must pay child support for a child that’s not even his.
High Point, NC — We all know the stories about deadbeat parents. Well, Billy Mason is not a deadbeat dad, he’s not even a dad to one particular child. But, he still has to pay for a child that’s not his.
Billy Mason says he was 15 at the time he went before a Guilford County judge on a child support case and said, “Didn’t know anything about them kind of laws.”
“The judge asked me if I was the father of the child. Yeah I’m the father. That was my girlfriend at the time. She was pregnant. I just went in. Thinking I was doing the right thing. Boom. Son you’re going to pay this amount.”
For years, Mason paid child support until he started to suspect the child wasn’t his. So, he took a test.
“Went and took the DNA test. Hey boom, come back, hey you’re not the father. No way possible. Zero percent. When I got that letter back from the DNA test, I had to take off work because I broke down. I couldn’t mentally do nothing.”
Mason went back to court, won his case, and a judge ended the child support. But, this is where the story takes a strange turn.
The county attorney under procedure appealed and a higher court reinstated the child support. Mason must pay for a child that’s not his.
“Wasn’t quick enough. After a year, supposedly can’t come back and say I’m not the father.”
“Hard cases make bad law. And this is as extremely unfortunate. The General Assembly has said by statute you have one year to do this. He’s dad as far as the legal system’s concerned,” says Trey Aycock, an attorney who specializes in family law.
Administrative Rule 60 only gives a person a limited amount of time and reasons to appeal a case, and Mason did not fall under it.
“The same rule we lawyers use technicalities to get around things all the time, he’s stuck with,” says Aycock.
Mason will have to pay for a child that is not his until the boy’s 18th birthday. Aycock recognizes the injustice.
“But for him to have a continuing on-going child support obligation for 18 years, there is something about that, that just doesn’t sit right in your belly.”
“I look at all these posters, deadbeat dad, and I sit there, I’m not a deadbeat dad. I’ve been paying for years for a child that’s not even mine,” says Mason.
We talked to a judge and a county attorney about these type of cases. The court determines paternity, not biology, so once declared the father, you’re it.
They also told us, you lose your legal rights if you don’t seek them in a timely manner, and in this case, it is one year.
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