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Senate passes change in child support law to allow late DNA test

An Illinois man who learned after 13 years that the boy he had paid child support for was not his son was out of luck under current state law. But under the provisions of a bill recently passed by the State Senate, he would be able to challenge paternity and possibly end his child support obligations.

The man and the court believed that the now-13-year-old boy was his biological son after he was born in 2000 or 2001. The man was ordered to pay child support based on that belief. But in 2011 a DNA test proved that the man was in fact not the boy's father. However, under current law purported fathers must challenge paternity within two years. So the statute of limitations had long expired.

After learning of the man's situation, Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, introduced a bill to help. The bill would allow a man to challenge a finding of paternity at any time -- even after the statute of limitations has tolled -- if DNA evidence contradicts the finding. Though Rose says the bill would help a small number of men in Illinois, it could be useful in unusual cases where paternity is found to be false years after the birth, meaning that the father had been ordered to pay child support under false pretenses.

The bill passed the Senate by a unanimous 52-0 vote. An article about the bill refers to "some controversy" over the proposal earlier in the session, but that controversy apparently was resolved. The vote could indicate that it will pass the House with little trouble as well.

Source: Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette, "Child-support bill approved," Tom Kacich, April 24, 2013

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