Months After Hanschen Was Chased Off Bench, New Child Support Law Says: He Was Right

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Mark Graham
Judge David Hanschen's controversial child support rulings are vindicated by new state law.
The state Legislature addressed Texas's baby-mama drama this session when, on May 12, Governor Rick Perry signed a bill that immediately relieves men determined not to be the biological father of a child from being required to pay child support. The bill passed unanimously through both the House and Senate.

Previously, as we reported in a 2008 cover story on the subject, state law determined that a man was legally the father of any child born to his wife -- and men only had four years to challenge their paternity. But with the advent of DNA testing, science outran the law. And during the years of science leading the charge, Judge David Hanschen erred on the side of DNA testing to the chagrin of others in law enforcement including the Texas attorney general.

"I ruled against the law, and the law was just wrong," Hanschen tells Unfair Park. Legally, he could have sentenced a man to jail for not financially supporting a child he did not biologically father. "That's just crazy," Hanschen says.

"What I said for years is that the truth doesn't have a statute of limitations," he says. "The courts are charged with finding out what the truth is."

Last year, Hanschen was not re-elected to his post in family district court. He attributes his loss to being chastised, especially in this Dallas Morning News editorial, for the way he handled these cases.

"I believe in many respects it cost me the election because of what The Morning News did," Hanschen says. He was regarded by many as an outlaw judge, even though today most of his actions would be considered neatly in step with the law.

The new child support law does not absolve men from making late child support payments. Regardless of biological testing results, a man is bound to the terms of the previous arrangement until the day he is determined not to be the biological father. 

"I think this was a big stride forward," Hanschen says. "The truth no longer has a statute of limitations."

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24 comments
jessiejoy222
jessiejoy222

I had this judge for my divorce case. My ex husband didn't pay child support for 3 years and he didn't even have him pay back pay to me. Also he ignored the fact that my ex husband was a muslim con artist who married me for a green card and after he got the green card he threw our 1 yr old son and I out on the streets. I got screwed because of this judge. He yawned and slept during my trial. My ex is now a Doctor in Dallas and is was already married to someone in Jordan when he married me. (little did I know.) I am glad Judege Hanschen is gone!!!!


Justice Denied
Justice Denied

Judge Hanschen sat over a hearing in the summer of 2010 in which a licensed attorney admitted filing a case against his ex-wife, setting it for hearing, swearing she had been served when he did not, nor never intended to.  Judge Hanschen heard this perjury and even though asked for sanctions, did NOT do a thing.  James Martin in this same case resently stated on the record that he "doesn't care how many times this man breaks the law" that his ex-wife needs to stop bringing it to the attention of the court.  He also would not allow witness testimony of abuse of the children nor police records of illegal activity in the home of this attorney.  Two months after the hearing there are NO orders in place so she cannot appeal and the court has instructed the court reporters NOT to produce transcripts.  Gender bias is the "status quo" in Dallas County Family courts where justice is spelled "JUST US".

aladywaiting
aladywaiting

Now how about making the mother's pay back the money they knowing got from the men. I think something should be done .

The Other Mike D
The Other Mike D

To find a judge willing to actually listen to mens side and not just side with the AG's office is rare in Texas and refreshing. Any of you who are attempting to villify this judge are either woefully ignorant of the conditions men face in family court or are just stupid to begin with.

Persoanlly I applaud Judge Hanschen for taking a stand. We see "judicial legislation" all the time yet I dont see the outrage that this judge did by bucking the dysfunctional system.

Citizen Kim
Citizen Kim

I've been bagging (to put it mildly) on this legistature and Perry quite a bit, but I give them due credit for good work on this one. 

One of our former foster children is in this situation in Florida.  Even the mother admits that the child is not his  and later married the child's father, but he had to pay $1,000's to get through court and have child support ended, and he gets no refund of the $1,000's in child support that he was unjustly forced to pay. 

This law is long overdue.

reality check
reality check

A judge that does not follow the law is setting him/herself up for problems with the judicial board of ethics. Any "rogue" decisions will likely be overturned by an appeals court. This judge apparently felt morally compelled to take this risk in these DNA cases.

To state that he was "right" is incorrect. He was not "right" in following through on his sworn duties to uphold the law. One gets into some pretty uneasy areas when the casting aside of the rule of law can be so easily characterized as the 'correct' course to take.

So what we have here is the old 'ends justifies the means' moral argument. 

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

Thanks to Belinda Gaston of Dallas who took this cause on four years ago fighting for her husbands name to be cleared. She took the campaign to Austin never gave up. Thanks Ms. Gaston and the Judge.

onomatopoeia
onomatopoeia

Judges like David Hanschen, who was willing to take a risk and weather ensuing storm of controversy, are too rare in Texas.  I had little doubt that he would be vindicated by this legislature, because the law he challenged was outdated and did little to serve the best interests of children in modern society.  I sincerely hope that the editors at the Dallas Morning News, and the justices of the 5th District Court of Appeals, are cognizant of this recent development.  They were wrong, he was right, and I doubt there is another judge in Dallas--or Texas--who would have dared to do what he did.          

Bigjondaniel
Bigjondaniel

He heard my last foray into trying to get medical expenses out of my deadbeat ex-wife. He was thoughtful and fair

Ryan
Ryan

Just FYI, but Judge Hanschen was beaten in a primary 16 months ago, not "years" ago, and served until the end of last December.

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

That's not why we voted him out.  We voted him out because he was arrogant.  Because he had a very low opinion of women.  Because he was a racist.  And, because he didn't care what the law said. 

Judge James Martin is doing a much better job presiding over this family district court.

bitter
bitter

Judge Martin told a father that was unable to see his children because of poverty. poverty is not a reason not to see your children. yeah. why don't we drop family court and call it for what it is the womens court

thelaw2011
thelaw2011

I agree with you aladywaiting so many women have gotten away with pinning their baby on a man knowing that biologically the child is not theirs but due to law after four years a man cannot contest it so for the rest of his life he is responsible financially for a child that isn't his and the biological father gets off scott free im glad this law was passed because maybe these women would not be so careless on just naming a father having a man sign his rights away on a birth certificate i hope you can go back and receive every cent you payed a woman in child support before knowing you wasn't the father

Trevr_50
Trevr_50

Unfortunately, I don't believe there is any way to legally address that issue.  I've been told any mistake is considered a GIFT.

Candygirl_35
Candygirl_35

When you have a gender bias judge it allows that gender to run to court and make up stories without evidence and with bad lies. In my situation he even caught the father in his lie and tried to ignore it. So I am very happy for the fathers whose stories were heard and were true but am sorry you involved your self with a crazy baby mama. But for mothers or guardians who actually follow the law and who actually have to take up the slack for that other parent and have to take care of the child alone, I am sure those taxpayers are elated to have him removed.Mike D you might feel as if he did a good job because you don't fully understand the law or you were made to feel as a God when you entered the 254 th courtroom when you discussed how you might be what we refer to as a part time daddy. Remember the word might has been inserted into my reply allowing you the same wiggle room as Hanschen did

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

My point exactly!

So, Hanschen just up and decides he is not only a judge, sworn to enforce the laws written by the State/Federal, etc.  

But, if he does not personally agree with any law, he will just violate his oath of office and rule in conflict with the laws of the land. 

Where does he draw the line?  Once we allow a judge to stop following our elected legislature's laws, our constitution, etc., we are a lawless land.

Candygirl_35
Candygirl_35

Just because the judge was correct on once does not mean that he handled other situations with the same clarity. He did not lose votes because he made a common sense decision. He lost votes because of his lack of fairness and his insane way of making up laws that were gender bias and that were made on the spot with out concern for evidence. Many deadbeats rushed to his courtroom to receive a type of vindication that could only come from someone as bitter and cold as they are. Hanschen main goal was to make things better for the father despite the needs of the child.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

That's my bad. Because, to be honest, some days everything feels like it was years ago. I need to get out more.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Snookie, I've learned that "We" don't vote for the same reasons.  You seem to tilt at more windmills than Don Quixote.  When the law is inane or unjust, following it is a breach of justice.

pak152
pak152

so what evidence do you have to support your allegation that he is a "racist"

Montemalone
Montemalone

Then why, for the reasons stated, is Perry and the rest of his gaggle of geese still in Austin?

onomatopoeia
onomatopoeia

And if he hadn't drawn attention to this issue? Would the law have changed?  

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