Don’t get hit with child support for a kid that isn’t yours

The Indiana Court of Appeals recently ruled a man was liable for child support even though three different DNA tests indicated he was not the father.

The man involved signed a paternity affidavit, without reading the fine print, attesting he was the father of a child after the child’s mother threatened to keep the child from the man unless he signed the document. Soon thereafter, the man took a home DNA test which indicated he was not the father. A certified laboratory test the following year had the same negative result. Yet, the Court found he was still liable for child support when the mother took the man to court in the years following.

The problem? Indiana child support law only provides a 60-day window after signing a paternity affidavit to reverse paternity based on DNA test result. A paternity affidavit is a legally-binding document a man can voluntarily sign to assume paternity over a child. After 60 days, the affidavit essentially becomes set in stone making it almost impossible to challenge, even if DNA testing later shows the man is not the biological father making the man responsible for child support, medical costs and even college expenses potentially until the child turns 19.

Before signing an Indiana paternity affidavit, it is important to seek counsel from an Indiana child support attorney so you know your rights as well as the legal implications of signing the affidavit.

The case referenced here is In Re: Support Abriel Theresa Jenika Gonzalez, et. al. v. Johnathan Michael Ortiz, 19A-JP-01957.

Stidham Legal is your Indiana child support attorney to provide you quality and upfront advice on your child support and paternity issues.

Feuding Parents and a Sick Child Means Lost Custody for Dad

A divorced father of a child with a major genetic disorder recently lost custody of his child after his ex-wife, and the child’s mother, was awarded sole custody as a result of the parties constant feuding over the child’s medical treatment.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s ruling that custody be modified to provide mother sole custody because the mother and father were unable to agree on the child’s educational path and medical treatments for the child’s impulsivity issues. The parties were unable to agree on issues such as whether the child was ready to advance to the next grade, and what, if any, medications the child should take. Additionally, mom alleged dad would purposefully delay his responses to her so as to prevent mom from moving forward on time-sensitive issues.

The trial court found mom was best-suited to serve as the child’s “quarterback” regarding medical and educational issues and awarded her sole custody so that mom could make such decisions without dad’s input.

Indiana child custody and divorce law can present many tricky issues to navigate when raising children jointly after divorce. Constant disputes and feuding between parents can lead to a court awarding sole custody to one parent over the other.

If you are facing child custody issues following your divorce, you need an Indiana child custody and divorce attorney to guide you through these important issues and protect your parental rights.

The case referenced is Tanner Hecht v. Taylor Hecht, 19A-DC-1934.

Stidham Legal is your Indiana child custody and divorce attorney to fight for you and provide you quality advice and assistance.

30 Days in Jail for Licking Ice Cream?

It may seem far-fetched, but a Texas man was recently sentenced to 30 days in jail for criminal mischief. His crime? Licking a tub of Blue Bell ice cream and putting it back into the freezer at a Port Arthur, Texas Wal-Mart.

Prosecutors in Texas charged the 24-year old with criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, for which he pleaded guilty. The Texas court sentenced the prankster to 30 days in county jail, a $1,000 fine, and $1,565 in restitution to Blue Bell Creameries.

Interestingly, store surveillance videos actually showed the man purchased the tub of ice cream he licked but not before store employees had destroyed the store’s Blue Bell ice cream inventory as they were unsure which tub had been licked.

In Indiana, criminal mischief (Ind. Code 35-43-1-2) can be a class A or B misdemeanor or even a level 6 felony, depending upon the circumstances. In short, criminal mischief is recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally damaging or defacing the property of another without consent.

A criminal mischief charge can be a serious in Indiana. A level 6 felony can result in a jail sentence of six months to three years and a fine of up to $10,000. If you are facing a criminal mischief charge in Indiana, it is important that you retain an attorney to protect your rights and fight a possible felony conviction.

Contact Stidham Legal, your Northwest Indiana attorney, for a free criminal defense consultation.