DES MOINES --- A man who paid child support wants his money back after discovering the child isn't his. The Iowa Supreme Court will take up his case today.
Joseph Dier wants Cassandra Jo Peters to repay child support Dier paid to care for her daughter, Olivia Jean Dier.
Dier claims Peters fraudulently allowed him to believe Olivia was his daughter even though Peters knew the girl wasn't his.
The couple never married, and Dier said he found out Olivia wasn't his biological daughter only after paternity tests when he attempted to gain full custody.
Under Iowa law, Dier has no claim on Olivia Jean because the parties never married and she is not his biological daughter.
Dier took Peters to court in Grundy County for reimbursement, but Iowa does not have a paternity fraud law and his case was dismissed.
Attorney Chad Kepros, who heads the Iowa State Bar Association's family law section, said paternity fraud hasn't garnered much attention in the Legislature or among practicing attorneys.
"I don't believe we've seen something proposed (in the Legislature) this year," Kepros said.
Nonetheless, Kepros said, how the court handles the case could have a definite impact on civil and family law.
Justices will hold hearings tonight in Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf.
It is the fifth time this session justices will hear arguments outside Des Moines. In May, October and November, the court was in Cedar Rapids, Mason City and Carroll, respectively. In March, justices went to Council Bluffs.
Steve Davis, communications officer with the Iowa Judicial Branch, said the travel gives people an opportunity to see the court work and members of the court to see the state. Justices typically also host a public reception.
"The turnout has been very good," Davis said. "We average about 300-400 people a visit."