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Courts sets child support for man previously presumed dead

Many people living in Massachusetts have seen a movie or television show where someone abandons his or her identity and creates a new one, but few have seen it in the real world. A family recently discovered that the man who was once a husband and father to them and who they believed to be dead was, in fact, alive and living under a new name with a new family. After having abandoned his family almost 25 years ago, this man has been ordered to pay $2 million in child support for many of those missing years.

Authorities say that the man obtained the death certificate of another individual who died in 1991, two years before he left his family. He then used the dead man's identity to obtain a death certificate and a driver's license under his name. In 2003, 10 years after leaving his first family, the man was legally presumed dead. 

While researching his family tree and history, a relative of the individual who did die discovered the false identity. The man using the fake identity was arrested in 2016 on a fraudulent personal identification charge. After the man was properly identified and his first family located, he was also ordered to pay child support for the years he missed due to his presumed death. The large amount was due, in part, to the comfortable lifestyle that the man had acquired since he left as well as a significant amount of interest. It has not yet been determined whether the man will also pay for his first wife's attorney fees.

Few people will go to such extraordinary lengths, like faking their death and creating a new identity, to leave their families or avoid making support payments. However, less extreme measures are not as uncommon. Parents living in Massachusetts who are struggling to collect child support payments may wish to contact an attorney in their area. In addition to helping some clients to collect payments, an attorney may also be able to help other parents who are struggling to make payments to lower them or otherwise modify the payment schedule. 

Source: indystar.com, "Indiana man who abandoned family ordered to pay $2M in child support", May 19, 2018

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