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'I don't get to see her' Man protests child support ruling

By AJAY BHARDWAJ, EDMONTON SUN, Sat, February 5, 2005

A 26-year-old Bonnyville man who recently discovered he's not the father of a three-year-old girl says he shouldn't have to pay her child support. A Court of Queen's Bench Justice has said Justin Sumner must still shoulder the $165 monthly fee because he acted as the girl's father for two years before divorcing her mother.

"I don't want to pay child support for a kid that's not mine," said Justin Sumner yesterday. "The real father gets away scot-free whether he's got money or not."

The real father is Rob Duncan, who Justice Sterling Sanderman said in his decision walked away from the family. After an on-and-off relationship with Justin, Dawn Sumner became pregnant in November 2000 and led Justin to believe he was her child's father. Rhylee was born in 2001 and the couple got married.

Justin was registered as the child's father and accepted Rhylee as his own, Sanderman wrote. But Sanderman noted he should have been skeptical about being the father.

After a turbulent relationship, Justin had a DNA test done that showed he wasn't Rhylee's dad.

But Sanderman ruled Justin must keep paying support because Supreme Court case law dictates that once a person has made a commitment to stand in the place of a parent, they must continue to do so if capable.

"It's not about the money," said Dawn. "He made a promise to this child before she was born, knowing the possibility she might not be his."

Now Justin says he'll have to pay for the child but won't have any input about how she's raised.

"I don't get anything out of it," Justin said. "I don't get to make any decisions in her life, I don't get to see her, I don't get any pictures from her. I could sponsor a kid in Ethiopia and at least you get letters and pictures, you know. I don't get nothing."

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