Child Support in the Sunshine State

We've all heard of deadbeat dads who refuse to pay child support, but you may not realize there are others who pay even when the child isn't theirs.

Several lawmakers are looking into the case of a north Florida man who's been doing that for years. New legislation is designed to give "duped dads" some relief.

Contractor Bobby Rhames can’t afford health insurance these days because he’s paying $400 a month in child support for a child that isn’t his.

Rhames and his girlfriend had a daughter 14 years ago. Seven years later they split. The little girl told Bobby she had two fathers. He got suspicious and had their DNA checked. Now, Rhames is fighting for what he terms fairness.

Bobby says, "She knew the whole time, so why doesn’t some of the blame go towards the mother instead of making all the fathers pay for this problem?"

Florida allows suspicious fathers a year to challenge a determination of paternity.

"The courts have ruled that once a man starts paying child support it’s in the best interest of the child that he keep paying, even if he later finds out that he is not the child’s biological father."

State Rep. Curtis Richardson has filed legislation that would allow men like Bobby to go back to court whenever they find out they aren’t the biological father.

Rep. Curtis Richardson says, "In many instances these men have started new families and that’s income that’s being taken away from their families."

For Bobby Rhames, the relief can’t come too soon.

Bobby says, "You know, this is supposed to a free world, a free country. I don’t feel free, I feel like I’m a prisoner. I really do."

Bobby’s payments will end in four years when the girl turns 18, but Bobby says he’s going to keep fighting for other men who have been tricked.


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