The State of Arizona currently has over 150,000 child support cases pending with the Department of Economic Security. Many different scenarios can result in a parent’s liability for child support. Even a parent that conceived a child when they themselves were underage and that was the victim of statutory rape can be responsible for payment. In Arizona, the state is punishing the victim of statutory rape by holding him accountable for child support payments dating back to when he was a child.
At 14 years old, Nick Olivas had sex with a 20 year old woman. He claims that he was having a difficult time at home and that the woman took advantage of him. He did not know that he was a victim of statutory rape at the time and therefore, never pressed charges. Unbeknownst to Nick, a child resulted from the relations. Eight years later, he was served with child support papers informing him of the child’s existence for the first time. Out of fear, he ignored the papers and never went for a paternity test. The state claimed that he owed over $15,000 in back due child support and eventually began collecting this money by garnishing his wage and assessing interest.
Nick has come to terms with the fact that he is a father and wants to be involved in the child’s life. But, he does not agree with the states assessment of the child support he owes. He claims that because he was a teenager when the child was conceived and did not know about her, that he should not be liable for back due payments. He also argues that because he was a victim of statutory rape that this should mean something.
Unfortunately for Nick, the courts in many states have disagreed in cases similar to his. In Kansas and California, the courts have decided that men who were young boys at the time their child was conceived and who were the victims of statutory rape, are nonetheless liable for child support. The main reason for this seems to be that it is more important to ensure that the child is taken care of and to collect the money that has been given out in public assistance than to protect the rights of the rape victim. This is in essence making the statutory rape irrelevant.
In Arizona, the laws provide that a parent that was the victim of rape is responsible for child support unless the rapist was convicted of sexual assault. Many believe that this is a double standard and that there would be uproar if female statutory rape victims were treated this way.
If you have been served with a demand for child support or are involved in any family law matter call the Scottsdale, Arizona area attorneys Nirenstein Garnice at (480)351-4804 for a consultation today.