Family courts here in Dallas and throughout the United States have rules they must follow. There are formulas they must apply when determining the amount of child support a noncustodial parent must pay to the parent who takes primary custody of the child or children. Yet sometimes it’s possible for individuals to get stuck in a place where seemingly conflicting rules lead to incomprehensible expectations regarding child support.

A stunning recent example comes from the Midwestern United States where, back in the late eighties, a woman gave birth to a child. She needed support but did not know who the father was. She was told that it was necessary to name the father on an application for state aid, so she picked one possible man’s name just for the purpose of completing the application.

The man didn’t learn about any of this until some years later, when it came up during a traffic stop that he had a warrant for his arrest due to unpaid child support. He denied fathering a child, but was told that a DNA test was not an option because too much time had passed. There are, in retrospect, some legal questions over whether he was ever notified of the original paternity suit.

Nonetheless, state authorities are threatening the man with jail time if he does not pay $30,000 in allegedly delinquent payments. That’s just the amount he owes the state — the mother of the child had acknowledged he’s not the father and the amount he owed her on top of that was waived. But officials are holding firm on the rest of the payments, as is the father in his position that he does not owe any money for a child that is not his.

It’s important when family law issues arise to deal with them head-on with the assistance of an experienced professional. If child support payments (or child support enforcement) are ignored or inadequately addressed, it’s possible for parties on either side to end up with serious financial and legal problems dating back years.