New Child Support Law Eliminates Deadline For Paternity Tests
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - In 2017 News On 6 spoke with a man highlighting a legal flaw when it came to men being ordered to pay child support, even when DNA proved the child wasn't theirs.
That law has now been changed.
Thomas Coleman's high school sweetheart got pregnant. They got married and had a son, but when the marriage fell apart about three years later, he got a paternity test and learned he wasn't the boy's father. He was devastated, then confused when the judge ordered Thomas to pay nearly $500 a month in child support until the child turned 18 because at the time, the law said, you must question paternity within two years or you are legally responsible
Thomas wanted to change the law even though, he knew it wouldn't benefit him, but he hoped it would help others.
"I was perfectly fine with that," said Coleman.
Thomas received messages from lots of other people in Oklahoma and across the U.S. in the same boat and so did his legislator, Representative Josh West.
"The people that watched your story back in 2017, they just couldn't believe that this was 2017 at the time and this was the current law, this is barbaric, almost," said Rep. West.
He wrote a bill that year, it failed to pass. Then, Senator Chris Kidd, co-authored a new bill with him this year and this time, it passed. House Bill 2270 removes the two-year deadline and says the person is not responsible for child support or medical care if there is a fraud and DNA confirmation.
"There's a lot of legislation up there, hundreds of bills every session and I would say a majority of them feel like a waste of time, but this one, is what it's all about," said Sen. Kidd.
The new law is also retroactive, so it actually helps Thomas' case.
"It's a blessing it really is. Just so happy," said Coleman.
Not only does this help people who are proven not to be the biological parent, but, also those people who find out later they are the parent and want to step up and be involved in their child's life.