Prison sentence for child maintenance deceit
- AuthorPhilip Hoddell
A man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for falsifying a DNA test in an attempt to avoid paying child maintenance for his two children.
Despite being present at the birth of the children, who have two different mums, Steven Dixon denied he was the father when the Child Maintenance Service asked him to pay maintenance for them. He then got one of his friends to provide the actual DNA test and forged the submission form and forged the signature of a local doctor.
The Child Maintenance Service told the two women that Mr Dixon could not be the father of their children and therefore would not have to provide financial support. They knew different and compared the DNA of their respective children, showing them to be half-brothers.
Mr Dixon even claimed that the CMS were harassing him before a search of the National DNA Database by the police found who had actually provided the sample. When that man was arrested he implicated Mr Dixon who was then himself arrested.
A DNA sample taken from him by the police matched that of the two boys and following a guilty plea, Chester Crown Court sent him to prison for 18 months. Of course, whilst Mr Dixon is in prison he will have no income to pay child maintenance from, and when he is released he will find it difficult to get a job. Those involved in the case have speculated that it is likely he will then be dependent on benefits and unable to pay child maintenance.
No one would argue with the suggestion that parents should both contribute towards the financial upbringing of their children, and no one would seriously suggest that it was acceptable for parents to try to avoid their legal obligation through deceit. However, I cannot help but wonder whether this was a stunning legal victory or a spectacular own goal since it does not seem to have produced any money for the children; in fact it has probably lessened the likelihood of them receiving any in the future.
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