While a soldier was fighting overseas, he paid about $2,700 in child support for a child that wasn't his own.
Christopher Childers' wages were garnished to pay child support while he was deployed in Iraq, but the Tennessee Court of Appeals in Knoxville said in this ruling, the state can't pay him back, even now that a DNA test has proven he's not the father.
According to the proceeding, the child's mother, Alexandria Price, sought assistance from the state and claimed Christopher Childers was the father of her baby.
His child support was set at $126.23 a week.
Childers then filed a motion for DNA testing.
The motion states: “I was deployed in Baghdad, Iraq… I never received a letter ordering me to report for a DNA test. Therefore, I was ordered the father by default.”
Mary Langford, a Family Law attorney, told Nashville's News 2, “He claimed that he was not served with process, but it had been mailed to his parents home and never accepted. If that was the case, and if the records show that that was the case, it should have stopped right there.”
A juvenile court ordered the state to reimburse Childers, but the state appealed.
The appeals court determined that while the initial judgment was wrong, the juvenile court doesn't have the jurisdiction to order the state to pay him back.
“The result here is exactly what it has to be under Tennessee law. We can't force the state to reimburse someone,” Langford said.
Legal experts told Nashville's News 2 that Childers' best option now is to have the Tennessee Supreme Court try the case.
They also said Childers should have been issued an attorney because of the Service members Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which protects troops when they are unable to defend themselves in court.