Iowa man protesting law that requires him to pay for another man’s child

This story  from Davenport, Iowa where a man, Joe Vandusen, seems to think he shouldn’t have to pay child support for another man’s son. The nerve.

The facts of the situation are interesting, if not completely frustrating. Joe Vandusen hasn’t seen his estranged wife for about 17 years. Wife recently had a child. The problem, however, the state of Iowa came knocking at his door looking for child support. Joe tried explaining himself,

I explained to [Iowa’s Child Support Recovery Unit] this is not my child. I’m willing to do a paternity test and [the Child Support Recovery Unit] flat out told me it does not matter, you’re legally married to her. You’re going to pay child support.

Obviously, Joe is a little upset with the outcome and believes that Iowa should change this law,

I think it’s wrong, it shows Iowa needs to change their laws,

But who’s fault is all of this? Is it the state of Iowa’s fault for forcing a non-biological father to pay for another man’s child? Is it Wife’s fault for not speaking up? Or, is it Joe’s fault for not divorcing his estranged wife for seventeen years?

Presumption of paternity statues are not unusual. The statute in question, Iowa Code 252A, is similar to one we have here in Arizona, A.R.S. § 25-814. Typically, they make sense; a husband should be responsible for a chid that his wife has. This logic does not follow, however, when you are estranged from your spouse for SEVENTEEN YEARS. Also, the presumption of paternity in these statutes is usually rebuttable, meaning it can be reversed upon showing evidence that the husband is not the father (i.e., a paternity test). All this requires is a filing with the court challenging the paternity presumption and requesting a paternity test.

With all do respect to Joe, why didn’t he just get a divorce? Estranged or not, staying married for seventeen years exposes you to so much potential liability, like debt and supporting another man’s child. Sorry, Joe, but this should have been taken care of almost two decades ago.


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