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Judge Says Singer McKnight Owes $341,640 in Back Child Support

If you're the target of any type of legal action and you don't show up in court, you run the risk of losing by default. This is called a "default judgment."

Earlier this month, R&B singer and late-night talk show host Brian McKnight learned that lesson the hard way: Because McKnight failed to respond to a paternity lawsuit, a Florida judge has issued a default judgment naming him the father of a 14-year-old boy and ordering him to pay $341,640 in back child support.

Miriam Lee, the mother of the 14 year-old, filed the paternity lawsuit against McKnight in Orange County, Florida, last year. In addition to seeking recognition of her McKnight's paternity of her son, her lawsuit was a child support enforcement action against McKnight. Ms. Lee claimed 14 years of back child support at a rate of $11,388 a month -- to reach a total of $341,640.

McKnight failed to file any documentation challenging Ms. Lee's claims and did not appear in court. As a result, the judge was forced to rule in favor of Ms. Lee on every part of her claim. McKnight is now legally obligated to pay the nearly $350,000 in back child support -- and to continue the payments -- unless he is able to obtain a new or modified order from the judge.

A spokesman for Brian McKnight told TMZ.com that McKnight does not concede he is the father of Ms. Lee's son.

"The judgment in Florida was a default judgment made without Brian present," McKnight's representative said. "He's still looking to establish paternity, and is awaiting the results of a recent test."

Should the paternity test turn out to be negative, McKnight could ask for the case to be reopened.

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