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Who's your daddy?

One of the most basic rules in life is that any action, any discovery, will have far more consequences than can be imagined. And of late, yet another one of these is the amazing synergy between advanced genetic research and the welfare society.

The explosion of illegitamacy has a great deal to do with the welfare state. Under current policies, it's simply more profitable for a woman to have children without a father present. It's a perverse incentive, that has led to the near-destruction of the family unit among the poorer classes.

But one of the elements that helped support that was the ability of a woman to simply deny knowing who had fathered her child. (I still recall the days when a woman -- or a man, for that matter -- who had multiple sex partners within a week or two was something that was considered a tremendous mark of shame, but I digress and date myself.) But eventually it simply got to the point where hospital officials would simply put down "father unknown" on birth certificates without a second thought.

Likewise, in many other cases, a man who found himself named as a baby's father would simply accept it. He might shoulder his responsibilities and do what he could for the child, or might try to evade them, but the cases of a man out-and-out denying paternity were rare.

Now comes the wonders of science. With DNA testing that proves or disproves paternity with almost absolute certainty, the true father of a child can be decided in very short order. And that has sent earthquakes through the legal community.

Many of those men who accepted a woman's word and paid child support for years have had niggling suspicions that they were not truly the child's father, and in quite a few cases have gone to labs to confirm or deny those suspicions. And that leaves us to the obvious question: suppose a man has been paying court-mandated child support for years, then finds out another man is the father. What should be done?

It's a hell of a tough question. The justice side of me says he ought to be released from further payments, and the mother should repay him for the child support she had received. The law-and-order side of me wants the woman charged with fraud. The compassionate side of me worries how this will affect the child, as they suddenly lose the man they thought of as their father and their support.

The courts have, largely, wimped out. They have tended to rule that the father has a certain window of time to contest paternity; after that, regardless of new evidence, he's on the hook for supporting this kid until, depending on circumstances, they reach the age of 23. And they've openly stated, in some cases, that SOMEONE has to pay for the child's care, so it might as well be the guy who's been doing it all along.

The Boston Herald took a look at this issue recently, with some rather compelling anecdotes.

For me, this is strictly an academic issue. I have no kids, and I've made sure I won't. But it's a growing problem, and we need to figure out just what we're going to do about it -- and soon.


Comments (13)

'suppose a man has been pay... (Below threshold)
ICallMasICM:

'suppose a man has been paying court-mandated child support for years, then finds out another man is the father. What should be done?'

If the guy wants he should get his money back. If he wants to pay for someone elses kid he should adopt it. What's so hard?

Made worse by places like C... (Below threshold)
Jay:

Made worse by places like CA where if she says you're the father (or someone with your name, that is...), you're the father and you don't know it until the support payments start being withheld from your pay, after which it's nigh impossible to contest and change. It was such a big topic maybe a year or so ago that Chris Muir did a series in Day By Day in which Sam had this happen, because her name was named and was the person by that name they located, and she had to fly out to go to court and flashed her boobs at the judge.

IIRC the current deal is you might get it dropped, but you cannot ever get your money back there. I think that is wrong beyond all reason.

I think that is wrong be... (Below threshold)

I think that is wrong beyond all reason.

Of course it is. California legislators wrote the law.

It's about time this issue ... (Below threshold)
Frank H:

It's about time this issue got some press. There are claims that, in some communities, the rate of misidentified paternity might be as high as 1/3 of all births. Women need to be held responsible for their actions, and carelessly getting themselves pregnant by a man other than their husband is clearly irresponsible. A woman who falsely identifies a man as the father deserves to lose all legal rights to support and if the fraud was deliberate, deserves to pay a price as a criminal.

That being said, I would find it hard to abandon a child that has become "mine." I would be tempted to, and probably would, seek a divorce, but supporting the child would be something I would strive to do, and I think most men in this situation should. BUT I SHOULD NOT BE LEGALLY COMPELLED TO DO SO.

Fatherhood is a weird thing... (Below threshold)
mrobvious:

Fatherhood is a weird thing indeed, motherhood is born and delivered but a man often can feel (slightly) detachted from it. Some say that the 9 months make the mom and a lifetime makes the dad. I tend to think that 9 months make the biological parent but the lifetime makes the mom and dad. I have no biological children ( partly by choice) but I have a girl who looks up at me and calls me Dad, whose friends all look at me and call me "Micheles Dad" I pay for much of her living along with the mom, and I know that while I don't have a single strand of DNA in her makeup, I am her dad in her mind and heart. To me.. that is where true parent hood lies.

Now if these men who take responsibility for the child from the mothers actually develop a relationship with said child. They are the fathers, law aside, who have earned the title by deeds after the ejaculation.

Those men who just paid money and didn't take any effort to help the child grow spiritually as well as financially, well they are in the grey area.

how appropriate, since parenthood is grey. as in Great or gradient levels of hell. Depending on the events of the day

We had a male family friend... (Below threshold)
Dwight P:

We had a male family friend who this happened to. The mother had given up custody of the kid because she was a drug bag slut and the guys mother was helping him raise the kid. Apparently the true father somehow got into the equation and tests were done and now there is some sort of custody battle that is going to happen. The child in question is two years old. I haven't heard what's going to happen with it. But my heart goes out to the child who has grown to know this one set of "parents" and now will possibly be ripped from them and given to someone new.

Then it means the state leg... (Below threshold)
Mikey:

Then it means the state legislature has to grab its courage with both hands and put together a procedure on how to deal with this.

As soon as enough heat is applied to them, of course.

I have a serious problem wi... (Below threshold)

I have a serious problem with the way things stand now. If you are not the father and you can prove it, you should not be forced to pay up. If you want to pay you can, but if you absolutely do not then they shouldn't make you.

If a woman deliberately lied to a man to make him pay child support and gets found out, she should have her kids yanked and be thrown in jail. I know that sounds harsh, but it's also harsh to saddle a man with a kid that's not even his. Somebody needs to crack down on this or it will just continue. Maybe if women knew there were harsh consequences for getting caught they wouldn't pull this kind of crap, not with DNA testing so readily available.

Then again, whatever happened to only having sex with your spouse? If everybody did that, there would be no problem. Too bad it's never going to happen.

To me, any many other men, ... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

To me, any many other men, this is not in any way shape or form an "academic issue" Just because I'm not going around screwing women left and right doesn't mean that some woman somewhere can't up and decide to name me the father of her child.

For the state to simply take the mother's word that "Bob in Sacramento" is the father and, when he hasn't run through their rat maze of red tape within an arbitrary time limit, declare him to be the father and financially liable without appeal, is bullshit. There have already been incidents where the wrong guy was fingered, in some cases men who apparently did not even KNOW the woman.

This is bullshit. We're talking about a huge chunk of your paycheck taken by the state on the word of a woman you may not even know. This will essentially ruin your life. God help those bureaucrats if they ever send me a letter one day telling me I'm being docked for child support for a kid who isn't mine, by a woman I've never met, and that I have no recourse.

This sort of thing happens ... (Below threshold)
JD:

This sort of thing happens more than you think...

__________

Wrong man paying child support to Amber Frey

DNA test confirms misidentity in support to Scott Peterson's ex-mistress

Dan Honda / AP

FRESNO, Calif. - The former mistress of convicted murderer Scott Peterson is back in the spotlight after a DNA test showed that her first child was not fathered by the man who was paying child support.

Anthony Flores, 29, has been paying Frey $175 a month for nearly four years, his attorney, Glenn Wilson, said Wednesday. The father of the 4-year-old girl is actually Fresno restaurant owner Christopher Funch, Wilson said.

No one answered the telephone at Porky's Rib House on Wednesday, and Funch did not have a listed home number.

Wilson said Flores was preparing to file a court motion seeking visitation rights, which he has been denied, when the man received word last week that he was not the child's father.

Frey's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Wednesday that her client never intended to deceive Flores.

"Amber, in good faith, always believed that Mr. Flores was her child's father," Allred said.

Frey, a massage therapist from Fresno, was Peterson's mistress when he killed his pregnant wife, Laci, in December 2003. Her testimony helped prosecutors convict the fertilizer salesman, who was sentenced to death.

(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9430117/)

________

Mheh.

I had the same situation ha... (Below threshold)
Bobby Butler:

I had the same situation happen to me to be deceive believing that I had a child. The woman lied. I finally had a DNA Testing and found out that the child was not mines. I have paid at least $25,000 and the courts will not overturn the remaining balance to be paid by custodial parent. She was getting AFDC benefits. This has been a nightmare someone need stop this type of activity.

Hey guys,If a woma... (Below threshold)
Delta Juliet:

Hey guys,

If a woman falsely accuses a man knowingly she has committed a very serious crime against humanity.

The whole act of Family Maintenance Enforcement Program derives from the fact that no one wants to look after a child other than their own unless they volunteer to do so. Even government is forced to track down the irresponsible parent and force him to take his responsibility.

Now if a man is forced to look after someone else's child, that is a serious crime.

The woman and the enforcement program should be held responsible. Civil damages paid by the program and criminal charges against the woman.

It is morally wrong to punish a man for something he did not do. Get this right. It's more than the money. The woman who does that is practically killing you.

Gentle people, let's get this right and help this world. You create and promte lawlessness if you reward the women for pecercuiting innocent me(n).

Laywers, Lawyers, Lawyers! Get Your acts together and make a strong coalition against the rot in the legal systems. Charge the government for using force on innocent people and punish the women for so doing. No excuses. No.

If you want to adopt a child go for it but don't be cheated into it. Don't mix the two.

Adoption is voluntary.

Gentle people,Comp... (Below threshold)
Delta Juliet:

Gentle people,

Compassion does not mean that you show your sympathy to humanity by punishing innocent people. That is ofcourse wrong.

The woman, the man and the child have equal rights. The right to justice. There is no justice in punishing a man for what he did not do.

If government or the justice systems favour women and children, where does the man get protection from?

Euqality and justice are the same.

1. Whenever a woman comes up with a claim, government shall order a DNA test before doing anything that may affect the man, with no penalty.

2. If government interfers with the man without evidence then government is liable for all civili damages that the man may claim. I would suggest a fixed rate of $100,000/year. No excuse.

3. Government can always avoid this by taking a DNA test.

4. Suggesting that it is up to the man to contest is creating a legal incovenience to a man upfront.

5. Also, often welfare workers intimmidate men into signing papers.

6. DNA TEST FIRST FOR ALL MENTAINANCE CLAIMS-SHOULDERED BY GOVERNMENT IS IN THE INTEREST OF ALL PARTIES:

6.1. The government shoulders the cost of finding the true father before taking any action. If it can't, then it's all between the government and the single mom.

6.2. If a woman wishes to have a man other than the biological father, they must complete a request for adoption by a specified man, that the man can accept or deny. No questions asked. If a man accepts this, then he can not refuse. No fraud.

Say no, to fraud. Just don't force a man into someone else's obligations. It's wrong, it's wrong don't make it academic. You don't punish people for what they didi not do.

Mandatory DNA Test Before Any Action (MDTBAA)




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