Court Orders Man To Pay Child Support -- Despite DNA Test Proving He's Not the Dad

Joseph Sinawa
First Coast News

Joseph Sinawa of Saint Johns County, Florida, is speaking out after a court ordered him to pay child support for a child he claims isn't his. It's not just his word against the child's mother, either -- a DNA test actually proved that Siwana wasn't the father, but the state of Florida is still legally mandating that he hand over nearly a third of his paycheck to the mother of the child.

  • Sinawa only learned that he wasn't the father of the child after going to the Saint Johns County courthouse to obtain visiting rights.

    First Coast News reports that up until last year, Sinawa had believed he was the father and didn't contest it.

    "I signed the birth certificate because at the time I believed I was the biological father," he said.

    But when he sought further visitation rights through the court, a judge ordered him to take a paternity test -- and the results proved he wasn't biologically related to the child at all. 

    "I was emotionally devastated," Sinawa shared about learning the child wasn't his to begin with.

    "At the time it had been taking $83 out of my paycheck, more than 1/3 of my pay," he recalled. "When I thought I was the father I didn’t have a problem with it." 

    But Sinawa is looking to end the payments altogether, after learning the truth.

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  • The child's mother agreed that Sinawa shouldn't have to pay support, but the state is forcing him to continue anyway.

    Sinawa explained that the child's mother -- who has not been named publicly -- doesn't want anything to do with him. 

    "She told the judge she just wants this to be done and over with, and so do I," he said.

    The Florida Department of Revenue appealed a decision made by the judge to dismiss Siwana of his responsibility. The reversal meant that Sinawa will have to continue to pay child support

    "I’ve never seen this happen before," St. Augustine lawyer Brandon Beardsley told the paper, adding that the state appealed the decision because it felt like Sinawa hadn't "jumped through the right hoops" to prove that he wasn't the child's father.

    "It was a waste of Florida taxpayer resources to appeal a decision when the end result is going to be the same," he said.

  • Beardsley said he is sure that Sinawa will eventually be let off the hook for the payments, but it will still cost him both time and money.

    "You’re just making a [man] pay child support every month now for an extended period of time, which he should not be paying, until he follows these procedures," he explained. "The problem with the department of revenue is that the state is their client, not the mom."

    Sinawa is already strapped for cash and is representing himself in his case. He is cautiously awaiting his next courtroom date and is still working to establish that he is not the child's father -- and therefore, shouldn't be legally held responsible.