The title alone makes me cringe: Childless man freed after serving time for child support violations.
Yeah read that again, this dude has no kids and has gone to jail, no once, but TWICE over child support violations. Basically what happened was dude was with some chick, she got pregnant and told him it was his. They break up shortly thereafter. She goes after child support (or if she was on public assistance, the state went after child support). Like many low-income men, he couldn’t keep up with the child support payments and the state threw his butt in jail (that law is so dumb, but that’s another post). Then he got out, got a job and couldn’t pay again and then went to jail again. 13 years later he hears whispers that he might not be the father and decided to take a DNA test. So eventually Mr. Haltey take 2 paternity tests and it’s concluded that the child is not his. It’s good in the hood right? No, Mr. Hatley still has to pay his back child support even through the child isn’t his. Why? Because he signed a consent agreement to pay child support back when he thought the child was his. The court is holding him to that, so he has to pay more than $16,000 in back child support.
How could this happen? It’s actually really easy. All you really need to do to establish paternity is pay a small fee to get your name on a birth certificate. I’m not aware that you actually need to have a DNA test to do this. So if you’re messing around and aren’t sure where your seeds are growing, you too could get caught up.
My biggest problem with the article is that it assumers that if you’re aren’t paying child support you’re a deadbeat dad. I hang around a lot of fatherhood researchers, and they call it something else: dead broke. I think most men would gladly pay child support if they were earning a decent salary. I was watching this documentary and this man said by the time they took child support out of his pay check, he had $0.16 left. You just can’t live off of that. And even though it is selfish, to want to put food in your mouth over child’s, I get it.
All in all, I’m glad Mr. Hatley is out of jail but let this be a cautionary tale. Fellas, be aware of what’s going on. If you don’t think you can afford 18 years of child support payments, or just don’t want to pay them, wrap it up and call it a day. Ladies, when telling men that the child is theirs, please be sure you actually know who the father is. Fellas, if you aren’t sure they child is yours, please get a DNA test. Yes, I will still call you a dick for putting a pregnant woman through the drama that is men figuring out who the father is, we will all be happy in the end when we know who the actual father is. As you can see, if you make a mistake with this, you’re stuck with the consequences.