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  1. #1

    Exclamation Challenging a Default Judgment of Paternity

    My question involves paternity law for the State of: Illinios and/or Missouri.

    My husband and I recently checked our credit reports as we do approx. once a year. On his, we noticed a collection from Illinois for back child support. (we currently reside in MO and have for 6 years). We attempted to dispute the collection both on the credit report and to the state of Illinois since he was unaware of a paternity claim or a child support order. Through several phone calls, we have determined the situation to be this:

    Approx 8 years ago he was released from prison and the first week he was out he allegedly got this woman pregnant. He has always questioned the paternity of this child.

    Fast forward 6 years. We decide to contact this woman and attempt to do the right thing by the child. We begin paying $400 per month and taking visitation. This was not court ordered as the mother didnt want to go to court and persue it that way. We offered the mother to take physical custody since we were in a better position to care for the child. She balked and got scared and hid from our repeated calls and attempts to see the child.

    Approx 1 year later, my husband and I are in the process of moving and stay with his mother for 3 months. When our home was ready, we moved out. Upon moving out of the one address to the next address, he notifies his Parole officer immediately of the address change. So now his address of record is accurate and listed with the Missouri Dept of Prob and Parole, as well as several public utilities and our lease. Our mail was properly forwarded as well.

    About 1 month after moving to our new home, a sheriff attempted service of a notice to appear for a child support hearing in for the state of Illinois. His sister signed for summons. She is over 14 and according to Missouri law, that is all that is necessary for service to be valid, provided that it was his residence. However, it was not his residence at the time, Which can be prooven easily. She never told anyone that she accepted service (she has issues) and the only way we found out was contacting the agency that served the paperwork and verifying the name that signed for it (she didnt even sign her proper legal name but she is the only Jane at that address)

    His failure to appear in court caused him to be found the father by default and a child support order was put in effect. He was never notified of this judgement and only found out when the collections report showed up on his credit report/ He is now approx 15 months behind at $300 per month.

    Now since he had no knowledge of the hearing, and the details of the service of the paperwork being at a prior address and signed incorrectly, how can he go about getting a DNA test to prove paternity before he pays a dime in support? He shouldn't have been hard to find since he has to register his address with his Parole officer and the mail forwarding. He has no issue paying, only wishes for a FAIR hearing and paternity to be established beyond a reasonable doubt rather that by default.

    How do we proceed? Also can the default judgement be overturned? We have since contacted the mother asking her for a DNA test and she refuses. We wish for the court to order one as its the only way it will get done.

    Our biggest issue now is financially. He hasnt been working and has been a stay at home dad for over a year to OUR children, and we just dont have the money for a lawyer to handle this, and if he goes to work, his checks will be garnished so that it wouldnt be profitable for him to work after the garnishment and child care costs.

    How do we get a new hearing? Can we even do that? Do we file something with Missouri (our homestate and the state that provided the faulty service)? Or with Illinois (the child and mothers homestate that the court order is in effect thru)?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Challenging a Default Judgment of Paternity

    If the paternity judgment was entered in Illinois, you dispute it there. To set aside a default or bring an action to establish nonpaternity, particularly living in another state, I recommend hiring a lawyer. If you want to do it yourself, start by reading 750 ILCS 45/7 and 45/8.

    Why in the world wouldn't his family tell him that he was served with a lawsuit?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Challenging a Default Judgment of Paternity

    His family doesnt particularly think at times. They dont like her, and assumed I guess that if they ignore it it would go away. As I said, it was his sister, and she has had issues with drugs and losing her kids in the past so lord only knows what she was thinking.

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