On the surface veteran Torrey Eubaire seems to be just like many other former Navy sailor and divorced father. As a disabled vet some days are admittedly a physical struggle. However, there is a more mental and financial burden that has an ever tightening grip on Torrey. The ever-tightening choke hold he faces is the unrelenting child support enforcement punishments that is the result of a divorce which left him legally named father to a boy that he could not have possibly helped create. Why? He was overseas at the time of conception and delivery of the now 13 year old boy. The reason? Based on the laws in many states, including Texas and Louisiana (states holding the Eubaire child support order), marriage automatically means that the husband is the legal father to any child born during the years of matrimony. According to the Texas Attorney General’s website, when a baby is born to married parents, the law automatically recognizes two legal parents-husband and wife. This would be acceptable in Torrey’s case except he was deployed to another country. Short of Immaculate Conception, there is no way that Torrey Eubaire fathered the child in question.
Over the years, this man has been subjected to all of the punishments inflicted upon alleged ‘deadbeat’ dads. His license has been suspended numerous times and he has been arrested several times and has actually served several months in prison because of non-payment of support. During one of those prison stays, he lost a teaching job at ITT; one that he has been unable to return to upon his release and even after several attempts were made for reemployment. As an advocate for child support reform, I have filed a complaint with the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement or OCSE in Washington D.C. on behalf of Mr. Eubaire, pleading to have his case terminated due to paternity fraud. Unfortunately, paternity rescission in Texas and many other states is almost impossible after the allotted amount of time has elapsed after a case has been opened. If a child’s mother is married to a man other than the biological father at the time of birth or work in 300 days of the ending of a marriage, the (ex)husband is presumed to be the legal father, (The Texas Attorney General). It doesn’t seem to make a difference that Torrey was defending his country as this situation began to unfold. This can be proven by responses from the OCSE after the most recent complaint filed.
In their response to our latest complaint, Torrey was told that ‘the Office of Attorney General and the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement do not represent individuals’ (personal communication, April 16, 2015. Why then, is there a complaint page on the OCSE designed to assist complainants with issues with the local child support offices? In fact, the website specifically states that, if your problem does not get solved at the state level. ‘Please contact the federal OCSE’, (OCSE, 2015). This proves that the respondent is not following the intended purpose of the federal office. The respondent advises Torrey further by stating that ‘if you believe the child in question is not yours and want to pursue this, you will need to get an attorney’ (personal communication, April 16, 2015). If the task of resolving this issues is not possible, why would the office tell anyone to hire a costly attorney to help with the complaint? Easy. It is all about the money. Not to mention the hiring of an attorney impossible for Torrey considering that he is disabled, unemployed, and fighting severe depression largely based on this circumstance. There has not even been a mention of the small amounts of money that Torrey does receive in income tax refunds, like the most recent $60 and $350 from state and federal refunds respectively, were snatched by the government in order to repay a whopping $55,000 he allegedly owed in child support debt.
The government agencies that have been tasked to regulate the state child support agencies are abandoning parents that need help with their cases. Recently, men like Carnell Alexander of Michigan, Willie Carson of Texas, more recently, Randall Smith of North Carolina, have made national headlines as being victims of paternity fraud. This is but a small number of men who have chosen to fight back against the injustices that are being executed against them for simply being named as the father by the mothers of these children. The child support system is wrought with bias and unfair laws targeting men that are actually biological fathers. The fact that non-biological fathers are forced to endure the same punishments associated with failing to pay child support should outrage anybody when they are made aware of these victims of paternity fraud. It is not enough that the system operates as extortionists, demanding money in exchange for freedom and holding licenses hostage until a ransom is paid when child support payments are not current.
Men who have done nothing, outside of having sex, are being humiliated, criminalized, and hunted with the same vigor and tenacity that is used when pursuing actual delinquent biological parents. While we fight for reform, men that have not fathered children, need to be granted access to free paternity testing, whenever such a test is requested. As soon as the test reveals that the man is ‘not the father’, every enforcement tactic, including the actual child support order, associated arrest records, and negative credit reporting, should be eliminated with the states’ sincere apologies. If there is any money owed to the state for testing, fines, child support, interest, and penalties, the responsibility for repayment should be shifted to the mother. We need to end the paternity fraud epidemic so that men like Torrey do not lose their basic human rights while being treated like a ‘deadbeat’ dad. Forcing women to face the same financial repercussions and punishments as those that men face in this child support system may prevent future cases of paternity fraud. The burden that falls on the shoulders of men should either be carried by both women and men, or be completely eliminated. The child support system is unconstitutional in so many areas. Forcing men like Torrey to endure child support enforcement punishments when they are not actual fathers constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
Office of Child Support Enforcement. (2014, May 15). Issues with your local or state child support agency | Office of child support enforcement | Administration for children and families. Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css/resource/issues-with-your-local-or-state-child-support-agency
Texas Attorney General. (2011, October). Paternity child support and you. Retrieved May 7, 2015, from https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/files/cs/Paternity_CSandYou.pdf
A parent and an author who has survived adverse situations and lived to write about it..