The issue began when a biological father, Edward Blackwell, was sued by Dakota County for failing to pay child support. However, Blackwell argued that the man who married his child’s mother should also be named in the paternity suit as a “presumptive father,” a term under state law.
The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Blackwell and the case has been sent back to Dakota County.
Blackwell argued in court that he had been paying $400 a month for child support since 2008 for a son he had fathered with Victoria Reilly. At the time, she was married to John Reilly, with whom she had two other children. Blackwell also argued that he should not be responsible for all of the child support and that the Dakota County judicial system was forgetting a section of state law that a woman’s husband can be considered a presumptive father for paternity proceedings.
According to the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Training Program, a presumptive father is usually the husband of the mother at conception or birth but is not necessarily the child’s biological father.