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America's Debate > Archive > Assorted Issues Archive > [A] Big Trials and Legal Cases
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Bikerdad
In the American legal system, justic is, ideally, concerned with two things. Truth, and impartiality. Yah, right...

It wasn't his child, but court says he must pay

There is no doubt that the child is not his, even the mother now admits it...

QUOTE
As part of her ruling, Judge Carole Y. Taylor of the Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach acknowledged that Richard Parker might feel victimized by the court's ruling. But she said the child's needs are paramount.
She said that the father's appeal could trigger ``psychological devastation that the child will undoubtedly experience from losing the only father he or she has ever known.''

Moreover, Taylor noted, cheating is hardly rare. Quoting from a law article written by Temple Law Professor Theresa Glennon, the appeals judge wrote:

``While some individuals are innocent victims of deceptive partners, adults are aware of the high incidence of infidelity and only they, not the children, are able to act to ensure that the biological ties they may deem essential are present. . . . The law should discourage adults from treating children they have parented as expendable when their adult relationships fall apart.''



Questions for debate:

Is fraud excusable simply because an arbitrary time limit has passed? Given the inherently messy nature of divorce, should the fraud limitation be extended or eliminated?

If, acknowledging due to the statute of limitations, that he has no grounds to recoup the money already transferred, should the limitation be grounds to continue to require him to support a child not his?

Is "lotsa folks cheat" sufficient cause to let this instance of cheating pass?

Is potential "psychological harm" adequate reason to continue to victimize the father?

Does "the child needs are paramount" accurately express the ideal of impartiality, or is it an accurate expression of the judiciary's role of "protecting the less fortunate"
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Beladonna
I read the article and honestly, I am not sure what to think. If what the wife claims is true - that they agreed to allow her to have sex with another to get pregnant, then the ex-husband should have to continue to pay.

The ex-husband made this statement:

QUOTE
''It could have been over, and I could have been in control of my money,''


Is this all about his money? After all, there is a child involved.

I am left to wonder if what the wife says IS true - that they were having problems getting pregnant, that they both agreed to seek assistance from a mutual friend and if I were a betting women I'd say that might have been the beginning of their end.

That said, requiring the ex-husband to continue paying will not make him love the child. I am left to wonder whether the child will suffer anyway. The ex-husband may take his resentment of the mother out on the child physically or emotionally.

I can't answer your questions directly Bikerdad, because I just don't think this is cut and dry. It certainly is a shame. My heart goes out to the child.

Politaca
It is clear that we are not getting the whole story from this article. I have a VERY hard time believing that a person HAS to pay child support if they find out down the road that the child is, in fact, not theirs. I even know of situations where this has happened the decieved parent was able to legally cease their payments.

While I am speculating, but I bet that the divorce and child support hearings were very messy between the two and the judge does not believe that Fathers claim that he did not know that the child was not his biologically.

I am shocked that the mother does not have to find the man that is the biological father and make him testify before the court to clear things up. IF the couple knew what they were doing and did not get the biological fathers permission then that is just WRONG.

The true victim here is the child. How sad for someone to raise a child for eight years and then from a mere blood test leave the child behind, just like that.
NiteGuy
QUOTE(Politaca @ Jan 10 2006, 12:54 PM)
It is clear that we are not getting the whole story from this article.  I have a VERY hard time believing that a person HAS to pay child support if they find out down the road that the child is, in fact, not theirs.  I even know of situations where this has happened the decieved parent was able to legally cease their payments.

While I am speculating, but I bet that the divorce and child support hearings were very messy between the two and the judge does not believe that Fathers claim that he did not know that the child was not his biologically.

I am shocked that the mother does not have to find the man that is the biological father and make him testify before the court to clear things up.  IF the couple knew what they were doing and did not get the biological fathers permission then that is just WRONG.

The true victim here is the child.  How sad for someone to raise a child for eight years and then from a mere blood test leave the child behind, just like that.
*



Well, Politaca, you may have a hard time believing it, but nearly all states have some kind of law that says a child born inside of a legal marriage, is presumed legally, to be the product of that marriage. It's been that way for decades, for exactly this kind of reason.

Regardless of whether they agreed to have her impregnated by a friend, or she was having an affair and got pregnant, the one innocent in all of this is the child. The laws are written the way they are, to keep men from doing just what this guy is attempting. To use his wife's infidelity, consentual or otherwise, to avoid having to pay child support.

In this case, they might well know who the biological father is. But what about a case where the wife is straying with more than one person, or refuses to name the biological father? Either way, the child needs to be provided for, and presumably, the legal father was already invested both financially and emotionally in this child. Now, whether or not he wants to remain emotionally involved, he will still be required to pay for the support of the child.

It may not be fair to the legal father, but the court is considering what is fair and in the best interest of the child in these cases. BikerDad's ascerbic comments about the American legal system to the contrary, truth and impartiality are usually the domain of the criminal court system. In family law, it's more often about what's in the best interest of those least able to help or protect themselves.
Bikerdad
QUOTE(Politaca @ Jan 10 2006, 01:54 PM)
It is clear that we are not getting the whole story from this article.† I have a VERY hard time believing that a person HAS to pay child support if they find out down the road that the child is, in fact, not theirs.†


DENVER, Jan. 6 /U.S. Newswire/ ó On New Yearís Day the children and fathers of Colorado got a present courtesy of the state legislature. Effective January 1, a manís right to challenge his paternity of alleged offspring was restricted to the duration of the proceedings of a divorce, separation or child support action.

Once a final order is entered in that proceeding, a new state law says, the putative father is barred from presenting newly discovered evidence of non-paternity ó ever.

State Senate Bill 181, enacted in Coloradoís 2005 legislative session, requires that any evidence from genetic testing of parent and child be introduced before the entry of final orders. The new law applies to divorce, child support establishment and enforcement and parentage.


Note that "final orders" can be entered against an individual who never even knows the child exists.... until John Law comes down on him for non-payment of child support 3, 4, perhaps 10 years down the road.

That's Colorado.

Here's another one from North Carolina:

Father Must Pay Child Support For Kid Thatís Not His

One from Missouri:
Man cleared of paternity, but not support...

2002 USA Today : Men wage battle on 'paternity fraud'

QUOTE
I even know of situations where this has happened the decieved parent was able to legally cease their payments.

While I am speculating, but I bet that the divorce and child support hearings were very messy between the two and the judge does not believe that Fathers claim that he did not know that the child was not his biologically.


You are speculating regarding the judge. From the linked article:
Goldenberg rejected his claim without wading into the issue of whether Richard Parker had been deceived.

QUOTE
I am shocked that the mother does not have to find the man that is the biological father and make him testify before the court to clear things up.† IF the couple knew what they were doing and did not get the biological fathers permission then that is just WRONG.

The true victim here is the child.† How sad for someone to raise a child for eight years and then from a mere blood test leave the child behind, just like that.
True victim is the child? How about the true victims are the child and the father?

How can you suddenly stop loving a child for whom you've always been Dad? How can you abandon a child who needs you? These are tough questions and prompt emotions that interfere with one's usual impulse to fairness. But fair is fair, and the truth looks like this: The mother who lies about paternity is guilty of fraud and deserves condemnation at least equal to what we assign fathers who abandon their children. In no other imaginable scenario, meanwhile, do we punish victims of a false allegations. ... fraud is a crime that under any other circumstances would be punishable in criminal and civil courts. - Kathleen Parker


QUOTE(NiteGuy @ Jan 10 2006, 09:13 PM)
Well, Politaca, you may have a hard time believing it, but nearly all states have some kind of law that says a child born inside of a legal marriage, is presumed legally, to be the product of that marriage.  It's been that way for decades, for exactly this kind of reason.
Actually, its been that way for centuries, because "back in the day" before DNA testing, before other medical testing, there was no way of determing paternity.

QUOTE
Regardless of whether they agreed to have her impregnated by a friend, or she was having an affair and got pregnant, the one innocent in all of this is the child.  The laws are written the way they are, to keep men from doing just what this guy is attempting.  To use his wife's infidelity, consentual or otherwise, to avoid having to pay child support. 
Actually, the laws were written in order to insure that a child wouldn't be identified as a "bastard."

QUOTE
In this case, they might well know who the biological father is.  But what about a case where the wife is straying with more than one person, or refuses to name the biological father?  Either way, the child needs to be provided for, and presumably, the legal father was already invested both financially and emotionally in this child. Now, whether or not he wants to remain emotionally involved, he will still be required to pay for the support of the child. 


QUOTE
It may not be fair to the legal father, but the court is considering what is fair and in the best interest of the child in these cases.  BikerDad's ascerbic comments about the American legal system to the contrary, truth and impartiality are usually the domain of the criminal court system.  In family law, it's more often about what's in the best interest of those least able to help or protect themselves.


Well, at least somebody else realizes that the following nuggets of Constitutional wisdom don't apply to family court:

AMENDMENT XIII
Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.

Note: A portion of Article IV, section 2, of the Constitution was superseded by the 13th amendment.

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AMENDMENT XIV
Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.
Note: Article I, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of the 14th amendment.

Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

If being forced to provide for a child that isn't even yours doesn't qualify as "involunary servitude", what, pray tell, does?

edited to respond to NiteGuy
Politaca
I am shocked by this. Does the father only have to continue paying child support after finding out that the child is, in fact, not his if the divorce has already been settled in court?

To be more specific what if the couple divorced amicably and all was settled outside of court? Could the father then get out of the payments?
Bikerdad
QUOTE(Politaca @ Jan 11 2006, 10:41 AM)
I am shocked by this.  Does the father only have to continue paying child support after finding out that the child is, in fact, not his if the divorce has already been settled in court?

To be more specific what if the couple divorced amicably and all was settled outside of court?  Could the father then get out of the payments?
*



Child support as a legal entity only exists by court order. Paternity assumptions/assertions don't matter unless a legal child support order exists. Plus, "all" cannot be settled out of court. The parents may come to an understanding and simply have the court rubber stamp it, but that understanding becomes the decree. As an added bonus, if children are involved, the law will require child support, even if both parents agree that they don't want it.

So, the upshot is, no, as a general rule, the father can not get out of the payments once the time limit has lapsed. Some states have moved in the opposite direction of Colorado, but for most, the Colorado model applies.
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