A Texas man has been ordered to come up with more than $60,000 in back child support for a girl he did not biologically father and met only once in his life.
Gabriel Cornejo, 45, was named by a former girlfriend as being the father of her child in 2003, FOX News states, but the parental title was never confirmed by the alleged dad himself.
According to the woman, Mr. Cornejo had been the only man she had been intimate with nine months before. The hospital workers reportedly believed the woman’s claim at face value and thus, Cornejo began unknowingly having his paycheck siphoned by the state to assist with the then-baby girl’s upbringing.
The Houston resident, who is now raising three children of his own, as well as two of his sibling’s kids, claims that he only learned of his supposed daughter last year when a deputy came to his home and served him notice of his current legal battle.
“I never thought in my whole life I would have to defend myself of something that I am innocent of,” Cornejo relayed to ABC7 Houston of the matter.
The Texas father went on to say that after being notified of the support order for the child, who’s now a teenager, he discussed the life-changing matter with his family. They all subsequently agreed that Mr. Cornejo should take a DNA test as soon as possible.
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Cornejo eventually did just that — and was found not to be related to the girl.
Regardless, Mr. Cornejo admits that he did take the opportunity during the mix-up to meet the young woman, a “wonderful girl” who “has a lot going on for herself,” but in his words, “the results came in [and] I’m not the father.”
However, that doesn’t mean much to the girl’s mother or Texas courts, who are still suing the innocent man for the full amount of child support the “absentee dad” now owes: $65,000.
“[By] Texas’ family code, chapter 161 states that even if one is not the biological father, they still owe support payments that accrued before the paternity test proves otherwise,” FOX News explains of the law.
Court records note that Mr. Cornejo was mailed a subpoena regarding paternity sometime before, but the man denies ever receiving the legal document.
As for the deductions in his paychecks, lawyer Carel Stith, the ex-girlfriend’s counsel, surmised that as the money was taken out of Cornejo’s earnings years ago and he never once contested the missing dough, he’s technically not owed anything now.
The Texas father is now hoping to reopen his child support case before having to pay the full amount or face possible jail time. Cornejo’s next court date is scheduled in August.
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