Rick Caspary of Jackson has struggled to make ends meet and pay his child support on time, but now he claims the child he's supporting isn't his, and he says he can prove it.
"It's ridiculous, you know," said Caspary. "I've never seen this child, yet they're going to take everything away because she said he's mine."
Caspary fought the child support payments for years in Butte County. He thinks he met the child's mother when he was 16, but he never dated her. Finally, he got the proof last September 6. DNA tests clearly showed Caspary is excluded as the biological father, but his problems weren't over.
When the mother moved south, San Joaquin County took over. First it attached his wages for $1,000 in back child support, then issued a new notice to withhold income for child support 10 months after his DNA test results. "They just started taking up to 50 percent of my paycheck. It was pretty rough. No warning, nothing: 'Here, we're just taking your money,'" said Caspary.
Even with the test results right there in his file and a trip to Stockton's Child Protective Services offices, Caspary couldn't win his fight.
"They didn't have my file, couldn't find it," he said. "Then they told me to come back in a few days. Well, I can't. I work six days a week."
Once News10 brought it to their attention, CPS officials admitted Caspary should not have to pay child support. What they couldn't explain is why no one had ever found the DNA test results in his file before or why Caspary got the runaround.
Claiming these cases are confidential, the supervising child support attorney declined an interview, but she said procedures to dispute a claim are clearly posted.
Caspary says the reality is much different. "They won't respond to me at all. I can get them on the phone, they say they'll do something. Then they don't do it."
San Joaquin county officials promise to drop the order for child support and reimburse Caspary more than $1,000 he's already paid. It is unclear if any action will be taken against the child's mother.