Veterans: Paternity Fraud
One of the most hotly debated topics today is paternity fraud involving veterans. Males in the Armed Forces of the United States who are stationed overseas for an extended period of time and veterans are easy targets for paternity fraud because a woman can obtain a judgment of paternity and, hence, a child support award, against a man serving abroad without him receiving any notice that a Petition for Paternity was filed, and Judgment of Paternity was obtained, against him.
If you are currently serving in the Armed Forces of the United States or if you are a veteran and have reason to suspect you are not the biological father of a child, you must act immediately to protect your rights regardless of your "home" state or where the mother (or mother-to-be) lives.
Clarke Logan Young Law Office represents veterans whose cases are filed in Los Angeles County, Orange County or Riverside County, California. We can also refer you to another attorney if your case is filed in San Diego County.
AB 252, effective January 1, 2005 as Family Code Section 7645 et seq., purports to help men against whom paternity judgments were fraudulently entered. However, be forewarned that AB 252 was drafted and sponsored by the California Department of Child Support Services ("DCSS"), the State agency responsible for enforcing and collecting child support orders.
On December 14, 2004, DCSS mailed a notice of "State Law or Regulation Change" to all IV-D directors, all county administrators, and all Boards of Supervisors informing them of the existence of AB 252 and how to handle requests to set aside determinations of paternity. All affected veterans should read this letter as well as the attached "AB 252 Information Sheet" and the "Declaration to Set Aside/Vacate Paternity" form.
However, before proceeding under AB 252, please review the materials available at firstname.lastname@example.org. The site's originator, Taron James, is himself a veteran victim of paternity fraud and he has gone to great lengths to dig the well so that others might drink. Be forewarned: AB 252 may very well not be the "solution" of choice. What the December 14, 2005 DCSS letter does not say is as important as what it does say.
Many veterans will be better served by seeking to set aside a paternity determination pursuant to In Re Marriage of Navarro. This is true for two reasons. First, AB 252 only sets aside a determination of paternity, it does not require reimbursement to the father for child support "mistakenly" paid. Second, an AB 252 request to set aside paternity must be filed within two years; however, in IRMO Navarro the child was already five years old. Please take time to read In Re Marriage of Navarro in its entirety.
In short, on June 30, 2004, the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, in In Re Marriage of Navarro unanimously held (quoting the Child Support Enforcement Fairness Act of 2000), "'It is this state's policy, that when a mistake occurs in a child support action, the County must correct it, not exploit it. . . . It is the moral, legal and ethical obligation of all enforcement agencies to take prompt action to recognize those cases where a person is mistakenly identified as a support obligor in order to minimize the harm and correct any injustice to that person.'"
Some family law attorneys believe AB 252 is an attempt to circumvent IRMO Navarro.
Until the tension between AB 252 and IRMO Navarro is sorted out, you are strongly advised to seek legal counsel.