Man to get child support back

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Judge David Roper said he felt bad for Kenneth Samuels when he learned the child he had fathered for 11 years wasn't his.

Justice was also shortchanged, the judge said, because Mr. Samuels had been paying child support all of those years.

Last month, Judge Roper ruled that Jamie Hope, the child's mother, and Oba Wallace, the child's biological father, would have to repay Mr. Samuels $14,460 in child support he had paid since 1997.

Such an order is unusual, but not unique.

"We have seen it happen before," said Sandra Jarrett of the state's Child Support Recovery Unit.

Usually there is no intent to defraud, Ms. Jarrett said. Mothers who have had relationships with more than one man might not know who the biological father is without a DNA test.

Ms. Jarrett estimated 40 percent to 45 percent of their new cases are filed by a custodial parent who never married, and a DNA test is requested to establish paternity.

Child Support Services helps about 30,000 families in Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties. Across Georgia, 500,000 families are assisted, Ms. Jarrett said.

In Mr. Samuels' case, it began April 22, 1997, when Ms. Hope opened a Child Support Services case that named Mr. Samuels the father of her child.

Mr. Samuels said he never had any reason to doubt the child was his. He signed the birth certificate, and he consented to an order to pay child support.

Mr. Wallace told the judge at a hearing last summer that he heard from different people that the child looked like him. The child called him daddy when she saw him in town, Mr. Wallace said.

Mr. Wallace said he told Ms. Hope he would take care of the child financially if he was the biological father. They decided to get a DNA test last summer, Mr. Wallace said.

The DNA test proved Mr. Wallace was the biological father, and he filed a court petition to legally establish paternity. The case was assigned to Judge Roper, who had no problem with signing the order that established legal paternity. But he said he was troubled by the position in which it left Mr. Samuels.

The judge questioned Mr. Wallace and Ms. Hope about when they first suspected Mr. Wallace was the biological father. Both eventually admitted it was around the time the child was 2.

"I've never heard (of) this gentleman until this year, and I never knew that she was seeing anyone else," Mr. Samuels told the judge last summer.

Ms. Hope told the judge she wanted a paternity test in 1997 when the baby was born but that Mr. Samuels declined. He denied that.

"You swore that he was the father when you took out a child support action," Judge Roper told Ms. Hope. He said he considered that action fraudulent and ordered Ms. Hope to repay Mr. Samuels the $14,460 he had paid in child support payments.

In February, Judge Roper ruled Mr. Wallace was liable to Mr. Samuels for the back child support, too. Judge Roper said in explaining his ruling that once paternity is established, a father can be required to pay back support to the time of birth. Since Mr. Wallace's paternity was established, he was responsible for the child support since the birth in 1997, and responsible for repaying Mr. Samuels.

Ms. Jarrett said that when a child support case is opened, the man identified as a child's father can request a DNA test. If the test comes back negative, the case against that man is closed. If it is positive, then paternity is established and Child Support Services works to obtain a court order for child support.

A man can also petition the court directly to request a legal determination of paternity, which is what Mr. Wallace did.

Paternity establishes who is responsible for the financial support of a child. If a father also desires visitation rights, he must legitimize the child, too, Judge Roper said. Although Child Support Services cannot help with visitation issues, the office can refer parents to mediation.

Child Support Services will help fathers with employment issues. It operates the Georgia Fatherhood Program to provide job counseling, training, educational assistance, placement assistance and other services. In Georgia, 25 percent of children have a case with the Child Support Services, according to the state Department of Human Resources.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

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london12
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london12 03/02/08 - 04:47 am
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This is surprising because I

This is surprising because I did not think that the child support case workers actually did anything. Of course, they will help the FATHERS with employment issues and educational assistance. (blah, blah, blah) What about the mothers who are busting their butts from day to day to raise these children? I've had my child support case rescheduled 4 times in the past year. Seems to me that the child support recovery unit is an advocate for dead beat fathers

LordSesshomaru
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LordSesshomaru 03/02/08 - 06:57 am
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What do you mean "What about

What do you mean "What about the mothers" they get child support payments. Oh..and this isn't a dead beat dad..this is a guy that was getting screwed. Just mind your own d*mn business....this has nothing to do with you.

JimCox
7
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JimCox 03/02/08 - 07:03 am
0
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Good job Judge Roper!

Good job Judge Roper!

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 03/02/08 - 07:24 am
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What a sad situation for Mr

What a sad situation for Mr Samuels and the child. The whole situation created by the mother is going to add numerous problems to the child's life.

s351
0
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s351 03/02/08 - 07:25 am
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london12 you sound just like

london12 you sound just like most of the women out there. if you dont get what you want when you want it you throw a fit. not all dads are dead beat dads. if you are not getting support then something is being handled wrong. but dont label everyone by what is going on with you. my kids are all grown but i am still paying supprt. i dont have the money to go to florida and take it to court so i have to just deal with it. what makes it bad i am disabled and they give her part of my little check and she takes home over a thousand a week . so me where that is right.

s351
0
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s351 03/02/08 - 07:27 am
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this woman should not only

this woman should not only have to pay back the money with interest she should have to pay a hell of a lot extra for what she has caused. we men have rights too no matter what anyone thinks.

truetolife
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truetolife 03/02/08 - 07:36 am
0
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as a women i feel that she

as a women i feel that she should pay evey dime to him beause she was dishonest in her dealings. i don't think that he was a dead beat at all he was doing what a man should do if there is a child involved and he did just that. she is wrong and i don't agree with her at all! london i think that your statement is misplaced because the court system usually tends to side with the mother.

s351
0
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s351 03/02/08 - 07:46 am
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thank you truetolife. london

thank you truetolife. london is not telling the whole story. the courts do side with the mothers. i know first hand. i had a judge tell me right from the bench that i had no rights. he had to say he was sorry about it later but that is the way the system feels about the men.

Daddyrabbit
0
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Daddyrabbit 03/02/08 - 07:53 am
0
0
He was not a deadbeat, she

He was not a deadbeat, she was and he was a victim! But, he should be more careful what type of woman he sleeps with. It's sad when a woman needs a test to tell who fathered her children. That's just low class.

Just My Opinion
5638
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Just My Opinion 03/02/08 - 08:13 am
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DaddyRabbit, you're right in

DaddyRabbit, you're right in that it's sad when a woman needs a test to tell who the father of her child is. My low class niece had a child when she was 14 years old, and said she didn't know who the father was. Before you start thinking that she just made a childish/foolish mistake, she turned around and did it again when she wasn't yet 16....she didn't know who the father was that time either! Well, 3 years later, she got pregnant AGAIN, but this time she knew who the father was...course, he ended up going back to jail soon after the baby was born, but, hey...at least she knew who he was, and where to find him! The only good thing to come out of her troubles is that I've been able to share with my kids her story and how she ended up where she is now. Nothing teaches life's lessons like a true story.

karmakills123
8
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karmakills123 03/02/08 - 08:21 am
0
0
Damn, This is all so

Damn, This is all so .........Jerry Springer

Da Voice Inside Your Head
7
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Da Voice Inside Your Head 03/02/08 - 08:38 am
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The father has rights, THE

The father has rights, THE RIGHT TO PAY THE MONEY AND KEEP HIS MOUTH SHUT! That isonly right most Judges give the MALE parent. Try to get the court to enforce visitation rights for the FATHER. FAT CHANCE!

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 03/02/08 - 08:39 am
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0
This Samuels-Hope-Wallace

This Samuels-Hope-Wallace debacle seems like something right out of one of Erskine Caldwell's books. When Caldwell published his works, the decent folks in Augusta were horrified. Today, stories about sexual promiscuity and reproductive irresponsibility have become prevalent. My fear is that we have become desensitized to these stories and to the effects such promiscuity and irresponsibility have on the lives of the innocent children begotten by the Hope, Samuels and Wallace and their "Tobacco Road" ilk. See any connection of such debacles with juvenile crime and lagging student performance in public schools?

Martinez
154
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Martinez 03/02/08 - 08:55 am
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CSE and the Judicial system

CSE and the Judicial system are very limited in the actions they can take against a non-paying non-custodial parent. For those most likely to pay anyway, the threat of losing a license or being found in Contempt of Court is enough to push them into paying. But for those who really don't care, especially if their license is already suspended for other reasons, the options grow smaller. A short spell of jail time might snap a few into shape but ultimately judges must balance this carefully knowing that for every debtor that sits in prison, they run the risk of over-crowding an already strained system where administrations frequently get criticized for doing mass early releases to help make room for new residents.

saltine
281
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saltine 03/02/08 - 09:09 am
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No one ever considered what

No one ever considered what this must be doing to a fourteen year old child. You are my daddy today,but tomorrow you're not? Poor child. If no one else knew, the mother did,she knew who she slept with and the question was always in the back of her head.

chatter90210
0
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chatter90210 03/02/08 - 09:20 am
0
0
Good to hear. As single Dad's

Good to hear. As single Dad's we are the real "ggod guys!"

christian134
1
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christian134 03/02/08 - 09:21 am
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Not one person seems to

Not one person seems to understand what this is doing to the child who mistakeningly called this person Daddy. If a man accepts a child as his and treats the child to love and care this should be enough to warrant support of that child. One does not have to be the biological father or mother to love and care for a child. Sometimes they care more but it seems this child was thrown to the curb all for the sake of a dollar. To the judge and "father" shame on both of you, the disgust I feel knows no bounds.

hangemhigh
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hangemhigh 03/02/08 - 09:45 am
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FINALLY!!! Great opinion

FINALLY!!! Great opinion Judge Roper. Finally we have common sense on the bench. Keep up the good work.

EdithPiaf
2
Points
EdithPiaf 03/02/08 - 09:54 am
0
0
Hey s351 if you are on

Hey s351 if you are on disability, your children are automatically qualified to receive social security every month, and that would be credited to you as child support, then you would not have to give them part of your disability check. Go to the SSA office ASAP and get that paper work rolling!

tdp
0
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tdp 03/02/08 - 10:03 am
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I applaud Judge Roper for

I applaud Judge Roper for making the mother and biological father pay this poor man back. He deserves this money. Both the men & woman in this case need to seriously re-think their morals. If they hadn't been sleeping around with everyone to begin with then this wouldn't have happened.

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 03/02/08 - 10:52 am
0
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Is Carlisle the first name of

Is Carlisle the first name of the unidentified judge, nocorruption?

426Hemi
0
Points
426Hemi 03/02/08 - 11:03 am
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Lump sum payment to be paid

Lump sum payment to be paid within 30 days please; to include potential interest. NO monthly "installments" for these two!

gcap
290
Points
gcap 03/02/08 - 11:24 am
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Be glad, Mr. Samuels, that

Be glad, Mr. Samuels, that you're not in South Carolina. When I was divorced with three small children, the judge's attitude was simple, old fashioned, and downright dumb. "A bad mother is better than a good father." I fought hard and spent many years being creative to find ways to see my kids -- and succeeded. Then a few years ago it occurred to me. Number three doesn't look a thing like me. Because I love her every bit as much as the other two, I will remain silent. But because the laws are so vastly in favor of the bad mother, I never had a chance anyway.

christian134
1
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christian134 03/02/08 - 11:35 am
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Good for you gcap, your love

Good for you gcap, your love for the child outweighed your anger. As far as those laws go they should have been overhauled years ago. Many many woman should have never been given the honor of being mothers. There are many out there with the morals of scum and should not be allowed within speaking distance to their children. Unfortunately old time judges can't or wont see past these "so called mothers" to consider what is best for the child. So many fathers out there should have total custody of their children we would probably have far less troubled children.

Chuchi
2
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Chuchi 03/02/08 - 11:52 am
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I have a male relative who

I have a male relative who was fortunate enough to get joint legal and physical custody of his 4 kids when he was divorced. She got them one week, he got them the other. Eventually all but one decided to live with him full-time when they were 14 and legally allowed to choose for themselves. He still has to pay (at an adjusted rate) for the one still with her mother but she gives him nothing for the three who came to him. She never did even though they had equal custody. The system is outrageous. However, biological fathers who refuse to pay support for their children and have to be forced by CSR are outrageous too. They fathered the children, they are responsible for the children and they have to pay for the children just as the mother does. Their fault is the same as the mother's for procreating the child. Judge Roper did absolutely the right thing but it's a pity Mr. Samuels won't get his money back with hefty interest. My advice to young men and women: keep your libido under control until marriage, but if you act foolishly anyway, get the DNA test first.

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 03/02/08 - 12:30 pm
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He felt bad, not badly.
Unpublished

He felt bad, not badly.

WW1949
19
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WW1949 03/02/08 - 01:09 pm
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Never had that problem but

Never had that problem but the first thing I would do would be to get a DNA test. Good decision by Judge Roper.

Coach Lover
0
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Coach Lover 03/02/08 - 03:22 pm
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Good job Judge Roper!! In

Good job Judge Roper!! In SC, you can't get a refund if you declined the DNA test. Even if you are married. Gcap, it takes a special kind of person to raise another man's child with no malice. God bless you. Christian, read the article again. Even the child knew that Samuels was not her father. If Wallace had not finally stepped up, the mother would have continued to play him for the fool.

jack
10
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jack 03/02/08 - 03:23 pm
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Good job, judge! Now, let's

Good job, judge! Now, let's go after dead beat moms.

jack
10
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jack 03/02/08 - 03:30 pm
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The courts in Georgia/south

The courts in Georgia/south in general, favor the woman. My grand daughter's mother was over $3000 in arrears and when taken to court was ordered to pay $300! Had that been my son, he would not only have had to pay all the back child support but would probably have been jailed as well. I have very little sypmpathy with single moms gougig their ex or dad beat moms who don't have to pay what they owe.

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