What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California
When I was 16, my girlfriend at the time (also 16) got pregnant. I am not convinced that the child is biologically mine since she had multiple partners.
However, when the child was born I signed my name to the birth certificate and I did so at the age of 17 and without parental consent. So, naturally the State of CA seems me as the presumed father because I never removed myself from the childs birth certificate within 2 years of being born.
Naturally, the relationship disolved between us and we each went our separate ways. Now, I am 21 (almost 22) and the child is 4 years old. I got hit with a summons, this year, from Child Support Services to appear in court for a hearing on an order for me to provide 50% medical coverage for the child.
I hired an attorney to prepare a response to the effect that I, first, wanted to establish paternity. The documents were filed and a hearing was held on Oct 27th, 2009 (this past Tuesday).
In the courtroom was me (unrepresented), the girl and along with her one of those Child Services DA's.
Well, the commissioner stated that the only way she would allow my request to establish paternity is if BOTH parties agreed to it.
The commissioner began her questioning of the plaintiff (my ex-girlfriend) and asked her if she consented to the DNA test. My ex-girlfriend replied 'yes'. The commissioner then asked her, again, if this is something that she really wanted to do and did she want some time to think about it. My ex-girlfriend replied "no, it's OK". Then, the commissioner asked her again (in a questioning voice) "are you sure that this is something that you want to do? If you would like, I will call a recess and give you time to think about it.". My ex-girlfriend replied "no, if Thomas (me) wants the test it is OK with me".
The commissioner then asked me if I had a relationship with the child. I replied "no". The commissioner asked me "what does the child call you?". I replied "Thomas". Then I said to the Commissioner, "he calls (her) live in boyfriend "daddy", not me." The commissioner asked my ex-girlfriend "is this true?". My ex-girlfriend replied yes.
Next, the commissioner asks my ex-girlfriend once again "are you sure this is something that you want to do? I need to ensure that you are not being coerced." in a leading voice. At that time, the DA leans over to my ex-girlfriend and says something to her and my ex-girlfriend replies to the commissioner "no, I don't feel comfortable doing the testing".
I could not believe that this commissioner actually coerced my ex-girlfriend into disagreeing with the testing, after she agreed to it 3 times during the commissioners' questioning. It blew me away, completely. Once my ex-girlfriend said the word "no", the judge slaps the gavel down and denies my motion to establish paternity.
I have until next week Friday to file an appeal. I cannot afford an attorney and do not know where to turn. Can anyone help me?
The case is in San Bernardino, CA Child Services court.