Local News

Paternity, payments more than a medical matter

Posted September 11, 2008 5:41 p.m. EDT
Updated September 11, 2008 11:19 p.m. EDT

— When a woman told him in 1992 that he was the father of her son, Avon Alston did what he thought was right. Each month, he sent a check for more than $600 to help support the child.

Years later, friends and family raised doubts about the child's paternity. Alston took a blood test – and got a surprise.

"We have proof, DNA proof. (We have) two tests that prove he is not the father," Alston's wife, Paulette said.

The Alstons took their case to Franklin County Court to have an order for support lifted.

"I thought maybe I'd just walk in and walk out," Avon Alston recalled. He expected the judge to suspend his payments based on the paternity test. But he was in for another surprise.

The court said he had to continue to pay. State law allows fathers two months after acknowledging paternity to dispute it and one year to prove fraud.

Alston waited too long.

"I have to live a certain way because I'm losing $600 a month," Alston said.

The Alstons are taking their case to the Legislature, saying that if you are not the father, you should not have to pay.

State Sen. Doug Berger doesn't see the need for a change. "When somebody assumes the responsibility of fatherhood, it's really more than a paycheck," he said.

Paulette Alston disagreed. "The law should stand for truth," she said.