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Divorced from Reality

Joe Vandusen is the biological father of two kids. He’s helping raise two others because he’s in a relationship with their mother. But there’s one kid he says it’s wrong that he’s being asked pay child support for: his wife’s. “We’ve had no contact whatsoever in 16 or 17 years, and the child just turned 1 year old,” says the Davenport, Iowa, man. Under Iowa law, a husband is automatically the legal father of his wife’s newborn; divorce would have protected him, but estrangement doesn’t. “I explained to [a state Child Support Recovery Unit case worker] this is not my child; I’m willing to do a paternity test. And she flat out told me it does not matter, you’re legally married to her. You’re going to pay child support,” he said. Paternity could be “de-established” in court, but Vandusen, who recently lost his job, is in financial difficulties, and when he contacted a lawyer, the lawyer wanted a $2,000 retainer. “Unless I come up with that magical $2,000 to pay the lawyer,” Vandusen says, “I don’t know what I can do.” (AC/WQAD Quad Cities) ...Magically come up with money to pay child support.
Original Publication Date: 03 April 2016
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 22.

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