When it comes to our legal system, most laws are pretty straight forward and make a clear distinction between what residents in our state can and cannot do. Unfortunately, a complex set of circumstances can sometimes make us question the resolve of these laws, especially if the outcome does not match up with what we believe should happen.
Take for example a family law case from Arizona where a 24-year-old man has been ordered to pay child support by the state. While the case may seem straight forward now, the circumstances surrounding his obligation are anything but. This could lead some of our Texas readers to questions whether the laws should be changed to accommodate unique situations such as his.
For those of our Texas readers who are unfamiliar with the case, it centers around the issue of whether male rape victims should have to pay child support in the event that they conceive a child with their alleged attacker. In the case of the 24-year-old man, he was a victim of statutory rape when he was 14 years old. He did not find out he had a child until six years later when he was ordered to take a paternity test in compliance with a child support order.
His case raises an important question, even for our readers here in Dallas County: should a rape victim be forced to pay child support? Some would argue no, pointing to the emotional strain this causes victims who are constantly forced to face their attackers via support orders. Unfortunately, here is where state laws often differ from what we believe should happen.
Much like here in Texas, Arizona laws are concerned with the best interest of the child, which means providing them with financial support. Such laws generally do not take the parents' feelings into consideration, which, in instances of rape, can leave a victim feeling frustrated and unclear on their rights.
Because cases such as the one above are relatively rare, it's difficult to say how our courts would handle such a case. It does however highlight the importance of seeking proper legal counsel, especially when dealing with complex situations such as this.
Source: USA Today, "Statutory rape victim forced to pay child support," Alia Beard Rau, Sept. 3, 2014