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Mass. court: Non-biological father must continue child support

By adamsc in News
Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 05:25:11 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

From a recent AP news story:

The state's highest court ruled against a man who tried to stop making child support payments for a 7-year-old girl after a DNA test showed she was not his daughter.

The Supreme Judicial Court said the man had waited too long to challenge his paternity. It was 5 years from the girl's birth in 1993 to the time he first went to court.


This case touches on a number of hot issues - men's rights, how to recover with complete failures in the justice system and even illegal confiscation. I found the justification that this decision would ensure that the child is not also deprived of the legal rights and financial benefits of a parental relationship particularly amazing - how much more of a stretch would it be for a judge to confiscate anyone else's income because it would help a child?

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Should DNA evidence force the decision in cases similar to this?
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Mass. court: Non-biological father must continue child support | 41 comments (41 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Excellent topic, but... (1.70 / 10) (#1)
by Kupek on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 02:45:06 AM EST

...you go nowhere with it. Flesh it out and it might get voted up.

-1 for now.

-k.
#include <wittyQuote.h>
should be "editoral" (5.00 / 2) (#8)
by codemonkey_uk on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 09:39:41 AM EST

The parent comment should be editoral. As a topical comment, its is compleatly off topic.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
If you're confused (1.10 / 10) (#11)
by Kyle_the_Dragoon on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 06:19:58 PM EST

Maybe try reading the FAQ for an explanation of editorial or topical comments. The parent of the parent of this is, in fact (as was mentioned), editorial. Don't make me desire your death please. Thank you.

I've said it before, and i'll say it again: Read the freaking FAQ!
[ Parent ]
Question (3.00 / 2) (#12)
by adamsc on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 07:57:54 PM EST

In the news section, I was trying to avoid editorializing too much (you're right, though - I should have expanded it a little more). I'm not sure which format the average K5 reader prefers for news - just the link and summary or including the poster's opinion as well.

[ Parent ]
Opinion (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by br284 on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 11:25:48 PM EST

Give us something to bicker about!

:-)

-Chris

[ Parent ]
The gentleman involved... (3.44 / 9) (#2)
by Malk-a-mite on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 03:55:26 AM EST

... didn't bother to contest the paternity until after 5 years and one of his friends pointed out that he may not be the father.

Should have been done sooner, the judges decision was based around the emotional bound formed by the child already.

So how much of a strech would it be to "confiscate anyone else's income because it would help a child?" Pretty big strech.



Don't blame him (4.00 / 10) (#7)
by onyxruby on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 09:04:20 AM EST

Don't blame him, he just found out. Once he found out, he had a DNA test done and then tried to get out of being forced to pay for the child. People you don't have to fork over a fourth of your income just to love someone and be active in their life. I think he should have his payments stop, and those that he made reimbursed.

The mother knew that this was or could be fraud (taking money from him for a kid that might not even be his). She knew this from the get go, he didn't, it was her responsibility to let him know back then. Why hasn't she been arrested for felony theft? I think that's the other outrage here folks. The expectation that a Father is supposed to DNA test any baby that they think is theirs for some future legal proceeding is ridiculous.

I'm not opposed to the non-custodial parent taking financial responsibility for their children, I'm opposed to insanity like this.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.
[ Parent ]

He had no *REASON* to contest for 5 years (3.90 / 11) (#9)
by FlightTest on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 11:45:50 AM EST

[The gentleman involved] didn't bother to contest the paternity until after 5 years and one of his friends pointed out that he may not be the father.

What's the point? The man trusted his GF. She said it was his, he was man enough to take responsibility for the child he thought was his. He trusted her, took her word for it, and why shouldn't he? I wouldn't demand a paternity test if my wife turned up pregnant, I'd assume it was mine. I'd hate to live in your world, where you trust no one, and demand a paternity test when your lover turns up pregnant to make sure she's not cheating on you, even though you may have no reason to suspect that she was cheating.

Should have been done sooner, the judges decision was based around the emotional bond formed by the child already.

The judge's decision was based on no such thing. As stated, the judge's decision was based on insuring the child was "..not also deprived of the legal rights and financial benefits of a parental relationship." I don't see emotional bond in that wording anywhere. I see do, however, see the words "financial benefits" explicitly. It seems the judge is far more concerned that this woman have money to (obstensively) raise the child, rather than insuring that the person paying the money is actually responsible for the child. The judge made no requirement that man continue to physically see the child, just that he continue to *PAY* for the child. What if the mother now starts to make it hard for him to see the child, by say, moving across the country? Then what? Is he still required to pay for a child that (a) isn't his and (b) he is financially prevented from seeing?

So how much of a strech would it be to "confiscate anyone else's income because it would help a child?" Pretty big strech.

Maybe not an arbitrary someone, but *ANYONE* who the mother names as the father. Not such a big stretch to say "The mother says you're the father, and even though you're biologically not, obviously she has some attachment to you, so we're going to make you pay."

I don't have all the facts in this case. I'm going to guess that the mother knew it was at least *possible* that child wan't this man's. The courts don't seem to care when women cut off visitation to fathers, but they sure get in a tiff when the man doesn't pay. Now it seems they don't even care if it's the *right* guy paying, as long as it's *SOMEBODY*.



Why did I flip? I got tired of coming up with last minute desparate solutions to impossible problems created by other fucking people.


[ Parent ]
Fiction and intellectual dishonesty. (3.80 / 5) (#28)
by Estanislao Martínez on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 05:03:32 AM EST

The man trusted his GF. She said it was his, he was man enough to take responsibility for the child he thought was his.

How do you know this?

The judge's decision was based on no such thing. As stated, the judge's decision was based on insuring the child was "..not also deprived of the legal rights and financial benefits of a parental relationship."

You're basing this on the AP story, not on the ruling.

Anyway, here's the complete quote:

In its ruling Tuesday, the top court said that although it cannot force the man to continue to nurture his relationship with the girl, ``We can ensure that Cheryl, who may be deprived of her father's affection and longheld assumptions about her paternity, is not also deprived of the legal rights and financial benefits of a parental relationship.'' [my emphasis]
There are many terms for what you did by not quoting the whole thing; one of them is intellectual dishonesty.

I don't have all the facts in this case. I'm going to guess that the mother knew it was at least *possible* that child wan't this man's.

You're willing to condemn others based on your uninformed guesses, supported by deliberate misquotations? Gee, you should go into law.

--em
[ Parent ]

its not quite an uninformed guess. (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by chopper on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 09:36:00 AM EST

I don't have all the facts in this case. I'm going to guess that the mother knew it was at least *possible* that child wan't this man's.

You're willing to condemn others based on your uninformed guesses,yada yada yada insults

i agree with this statement (the first one i mean). come on, she was having sex with someone else. obviously, its *very definitely* reasonable to assume that she must have even remotely considered the fact that the other guy could have been the father.

i know that that is an assumption based on the behaviour of someone i don't know, but jeez, yer having sex with two guys, and you get pregnant, you gotta consider that one of the two's gotta be the papa.
based on the story i've read, and all the websites i've checked re: this story, i've seen no evidence that she told him at the time that he wasn't the only possible father.

other than that, i agree with the rest of your (em's) post (save the inflammatory stuff).

Make him SQUEAL!!

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

Logic, my son, not intellectual dishonesty (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by FlightTest on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 12:03:45 PM EST

The man trusted his GF. She said it was his, he was man enough to take responsibility for the child he thought was his.
How do you know this?

Um, by the fact that he didn't contest the paternity judgement for FIVE YEARS!. In fact, he signed an acknowledgment of paternity shortly after the child was born. Sounds to me like he was taking responsibility for the child he thought was his.

There are many terms for what you did by not quoting the whole thing; one of them is intellectual dishonesty.

I quoted what the original poster quoted in his article. Your quote is from the linked news story, not the original post. As it happens, the entire text of the quote is irrelevant to my assertion that all the judge did was require that he continue to pay for the child. In fact, the full text of the quote is already alluding to the possibility that contact may be cut off between the child and the man paying support, and the court couldn't seem to care less. If the court was concerned about emotional bonding between the man and the child, it would have required continuted contact between them. But it didn't. My point was, and still is, all the court seems to care about is that this guy continue paying money to the woman for support of a child that isn't his.

I don't have all the facts in this case. I'm going to guess that the mother knew it was at least *possible* that child wan't this man's.
You're willing to condemn others based on your uninformed guesses, supported by deliberate misquotations? Gee, you should go into law.

I'd say it's a pretty informed guess that she knew it was at least possible that the child wasn't his. After all, she, more than anyone else, ought to have some clue as to how many men she'd slept with during the time period she became pregnant. It's not uninformed to assume that she must have slept with someone else, since this man is not the father of the child. It is not uninformed to assume that she knew she slept with someone else. Therefore, it is not uninformed to assume she knew, as I stated, that "it was at least *possible* that child wan't this man's." Furthur, as I pointed out, I quoted the text that the original author quoted in his story. That hardly qualifies as a deliberate misquotation. Laziness for not finding the original quote in the story and pasting that, maybe. But hardly intellectual dishonesty.

So no, I'm not willing to condem others based on "uninformed guesses, supported by deliberate misquotations". I'm pefectly willing, however, to make logical assumptions (aka informed guesses) based on the facts as presented, and condem this irrational judgement based on the fact that a man who has proven that he is not the father of the child is still being forced to pay support for the child.



Why did I flip? I got tired of coming up with last minute desparate solutions to impossible problems created by other fucking people.
[ Parent ]
Do you mean she *forgot* she was fucking others? (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by coffee17 on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 07:43:23 PM EST

in regards to the mother "possibly knowing that someone else could be the father" you said:

You're willing to condemn others based on your uninformed guesses,

Excuse me, but remind me how children are usually conceived. A couple of people have sex. Are you saying that perhaps the mother "didn't know" that she had sex with other men? Perhaps it slipped her mind... I know I often forget just who I'm fucking (hint: sarcasm). Tricia, Sarah, what's the difference, they're both moist holes (or in the case of males a warm dildo).

Sure, this *could* be a case of the mom accidentally sitting in a fresh puddle of seamen and not realizing it, but considering that people were recently letting him know that she might not have been faithful, I don't think that's likely. Likely, she fucked someone behind his back, which was dishonest, and not letting him know that there could be another father (hint, the potential other father was a guy (of the potential many?) that she was fucking (which I alluded to being something which doesn't typcially slip someone's mind). I find it laughable that unless there are extenuating circumstances, which likely would have been brought up, that the mother would have to have known that there was at least one potential other father.

[ Parent ]

Uh... (none / 0) (#41)
by adamsc on Tue May 01, 2001 at 02:02:56 AM EST

The full quote in no way changes the meaning from the smaller one - the " who may be deprived of her father's affection and longheld assumptions about her paternity " bit indicates things that are outside the control of the court and the meaning of the sentence is the same without it. The meaning is quite simply that while the court cannot change the fact that Cheryl is "losing" her father she doesn't need to lose his money, too.

[ Parent ]
How much of a stretch is it really? (3.00 / 2) (#13)
by adamsc on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 08:07:29 PM EST

Being named as the father includes significant legal effects. The judge upheld that classification despite knowing full well that he was not the father. Acknowledging that he was still raising another man's child would be one thing but invoking the full legal requirement seems excessive.

Consider what would happen if the real father surfaced. This guy would still be obligated to pay child support and face extremely tough legal penalties if he didn't.

As far as anyone goes, okay, it's not just anyone, just anyone a mother could plausibly claim was the father. That's still entirely too easy to abuse, particularly since social pressures ensure that some children will not be tested immediately.

[ Parent ]

What the man *should* have demanded of the courts (4.07 / 27) (#3)
by Mr. Excitement on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 04:09:54 AM EST

According to the article, the cuckolded "dad" intends to keep seeing the child, and the mother's lawyer based his argument on the "existing paternal relationship".

If the man had reason to believe the mother did not know that the man was in fact not the real father, then he should have sought a declaration from the court, playing on the opposing attorney's argument, in order to get the court to answer the question: is he, or is he not, this child's father. (From a legal perspective, that is.) If so, he should demand all the rights accorded to a natural father (and accept the penalties), and if not, he should be allowed to walk away from the whole mess, or at least expose the court's hypocrisy and appeal, naturally.

[Beginning the super-rant portion of the post]

If, on the other hand, the man had reason to believe (and evidence) that the mother did in fact know that he was not the real father, he should sue the bitch* for fraud.

Of course, given the completely fucked up nature of the legal system, this all may be a pipe dream.

*Yes, I know. It's a nasty word. But frankly, convincing another falsely that they have brought a life into the world, leaving him, and forcing him to unwittingly pay to raise someone else's child [possibly making it too expensive for him to raise a child of his own], merits calling this creature an infinite variety of things far worse than the word "bitch" was ever meant to convey.

Survival of the fittest, you say? Perhaps. But by shedding every last bit of civilization and human respectability, this harpy-witch-creature has lowered herself to the realm of the animals, or beyond, and as she has rejected the boundaries that separate us from the animals, society and the legal system should refuse to continue protecting her. If it's pure, predatory, survival of the fittest she wants, then she should be prepared to accept its consequences.

Let he who has not convinced another falsely that they have brought a life into the world, cast the first stone.

1 141900 Mr. Excitement-Bar-Hum-Mal-Cha died in The Gnomish Mines on level 10 [max 12]. Killed by a bolt of lightning - [129]

wtf? (2.37 / 8) (#4)
by Estanislao Martínez on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 07:11:11 AM EST

You don't know the people involved beyon what's given in a press story, yet you are already quite willing to condemn and insult this woman?

Even if the premise which you give for your accusation the facts are this way, then this woman is a bitch") were true, without knowing the people involved you can't get to the conclusion.

--em
[ Parent ]

Considering... (4.14 / 7) (#5)
by farmgeek on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 07:59:38 AM EST

He prefaced the statement with an if, and also considering that one can only know people by their actions and words, I think you're over-reacting.

Granted, I would have chosen a different word to describe the woman.

[ Parent ]
aaargh, that post came out garbled (4.00 / 2) (#30)
by Estanislao Martínez on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 05:13:23 AM EST

I seem to have deleted part of that post accidentally.

Anyway, the point I had intended to make was that, even if we knew that the woman knew he was not the father, it is extremely one-sided and premature (not to mention offensive) to call her a "bitch". We just don't know the circumstances, and there are so many possible ways to fill in the details which would make the judgement different in so many ways.

--em
[ Parent ]

considering (3.91 / 12) (#14)
by OriginalGTT on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 10:23:46 PM EST

That courts in this country give little to no rights to fathers, and that men who try to do the right thing are lumped in with deadbeat dads and accused of being child molestors, and the fact that this man can't even see the child anymore, then I think she has every right to be called a bitch. Personally, if a woman convinced me that I was the father of a child that she damn well knew wasn't mine, well, bitch would be the least of the words I would use for her.

The want of political correctness in this country has left the good father out in the cold. A woman can walk into a courtroom and spout any accusation she wishes, and the burden of proof is /immediately/ put onto the male. This goes against everything the court system is supposed to do. It is even worse in the minority community.

Blah, my ancestors oppressed everyone, blah blah blah. Therefore I am an oppressor. Therefore I must be oppressed.

Looks like I'm guilty of being a white male again.

---
I'm NOT on your level. Stay there, and I will stay up here where morals are high, and the air is sweet
--Psychologist
[ Parent ]

Stop projecting a fiction into the story. (4.25 / 4) (#29)
by Estanislao Martínez on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 05:08:30 AM EST

We just don't know what the circumstances behind the whole thing are. We don't know the dynamics of this relationship. We don't know if the woman knowingly deceived him. If she did, we don't know what kind of person this man is. We don't know whether her life and/or health (or somebody else's) would have been endangered by the admission. Perhaps this guy is violent, and she was scared-- even if she did something wrong, she could have done it not out of "being a bitch" but out of pure fear.

People and relationships are complex, and a short AP story just can't do them justice. You should not look at this story and assume you can judge the actual people involved.

--em
[ Parent ]

Bah. Everyone's a victim. (4.75 / 4) (#32)
by OriginalGTT on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 10:31:11 AM EST

I can see that you have decided against the father already.

Fact: She slept around. Abused women do not do this on average, as they are too afraid of someone finding out.

Why are you quicker to assume that the father was a monster, over the mother being a liar? She is the one that has broken trust here, and that's a fact. Why do you continue to defend her?

---
I'm NOT on your level. Stay there, and I will stay up here where morals are high, and the air is sweet
--Psychologist
[ Parent ]

That's not what he said (2.66 / 3) (#33)
by itsbruce on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 10:57:58 AM EST

I can see that you have decided against the father already.

He didn't say anything of the kind. He just pointed out that there's nothing in the facts as reported to justify your interpretation. He pointed out other possible interpretations that are equally valid, given the lack of detail.

You've chosen to see the case in a way that suits your prejudices with no supporting evidence. You're not guilty of being a white male again, just of jumping to unsupported conclusions.


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]

Her defense is pretty tricky (3.60 / 5) (#25)
by adamsc on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 02:53:46 PM EST

You don't know the people involved beyon what's given in a press story, yet you are already quite willing to condemn and insult this woman?
If she didn't inform him that he wasn't the only possible father before he accepted that legal status, she deserves it. There is simply no way that can be considered acceptable behaviour.

[ Parent ]
whatever (4.00 / 2) (#26)
by dleal on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 07:41:10 PM EST

It seems that, regardless of whatever blame the woman may have in this, the fact remains that there is a child who just lost her father. I don't know about the woman's financial conditions, maybe they're good and that's why he's trying to get his money back. It seems to me, however, that, if he really cared about the child, maybe the money he already gave wouldn't be that much important after all. I mean, even without any blood connections, he ended up having a daughter (which, frankly, to me, would be much more important than whatever money I would end up saving by not helping her mother).

Of course, it's easy to talk. Maybe I would react the same way if it ever happened to me (I hope not). I don't know nothing about this story other than what I've read in the article and here (I'm not even american, so I don't know what's happening on the news), I don't know what their finantial situation is, the relationship he has with the child, etc... But I can't stop thinking: if he was paying to help the child be raised, if he really loves the child, why all the fuss? I think I would much rather continue to help the mother raise the child and love the child and help her be a good human being (and teaching her not to do what her mom did...). Much more worthy than money...



[ Parent ]
Standards (2.33 / 3) (#31)
by itsbruce on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 07:57:10 AM EST

But by shedding every last bit of civilization and human respectability, this harpy-witch-creature[....]

"harpy-witch-creature"? Wow. You certainly don't have any issues regarding women, do you? Seems to me that you are the one shedding civilised values and respectability. Has to be the most reactionary post I've seen on k5 to date.


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]

Fair enough. (none / 0) (#36)
by Mr. Excitement on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 12:11:19 AM EST

I'll admit that I reacted emotionally (hence the explicit notice that the post was far beyond a rant), and that (if the "father" was left unable to raise a child of his own due to the financial burden) the instinctive reaction to what is tantamount to forcibly ending someone's hereditary lineage, is not pretty.

That said, I still believe the woman (if and only if she knowingly decieved the man), should pay full restitution for her fraud (i.e., every penny she conned from that man), and bear the fullest responsibility for her actions.

You'll note that even in my original post, I deliberately inserted an "if". If the woman did not know (or should have known) that the man wasn't the father, then she could simply have been as innocent and cherubic as can be. Of course, her current legal struggle to force the man to continue payments doesn't speak very highly of her current character, but that may be, however unlikely, another matter entirely.

1 141900 Mr. Excitement-Bar-Hum-Mal-Cha died in The Gnomish Mines on level 10 [max 12]. Killed by a bolt of lightning - [129]
[ Parent ]

English Common Law (4.08 / 12) (#6)
by wiredog on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 08:35:26 AM EST

Under the English common law, upon which much of US law is based, any child born to a couple that is married, or in a similar status (living together) is considered to be the child of both. This is to protect the child from being considered a bastard. Bastardy was a much worse condition, legally, in the era when this principle was first formed than it is today. The idea of requiring a man to prove, early, that he is not the father is an old one, and a case where "the good of the child" is a legitimate argument.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
Phage

Not in US law thought (none / 0) (#16)
by Woundweavr on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 11:36:44 PM EST

In US law a father can challenge paternity through a blood test. This can be grounds for divorce if the child is a bastard obviously. Apparently this man waited too long.

[ Parent ]
Interesting (4.53 / 13) (#10)
by regeya on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 12:36:58 PM EST

Did I miss this in the article, or was it not there? Anyway, I saw a recent news broadcast that covered what I think is the same case. Not only is he paying child support, but because he had told the child that he wasn't the father, he lost visitation rights for causing mental duress. So,

  • He pays child support for a child that is not his own
  • Despite the fact that he's being held responsible as if he were the father, he's lost visitation rights for telling his child the truth.

    Remember, justice is blind.


    [ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

  • Is it just me .... (3.92 / 13) (#17)
    by streetlawyer on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 10:37:37 AM EST

    or is this newspaper report of a court case just far too politically convenient to ever match up to the messy realities of life?

    In any case, the premis (that only blood relationship carries obligations) is flawed. Adoptive and foster parents have parental responsibilities too, and they are not allowed to walk away from them in the way in which the litigant apparently wants to. The wounded-white-male sobbing and weeping below seems to ignore the fact that whoever deceived who here, the child didn't deceive anyone, and the fact that the guy looked after it for five years rather does suggest to me that he has a connection to it.

    I also find it humourously predictable that the selfish, self-pitying, self-important little fucks that populate kuro5hin would be more inclined to feel sympathy for a whinging grown adult man who can't take it on the chin and move on, than for a child that's just lost half of its means of support.

    --
    Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

    Listen up you welsh prick. (3.00 / 9) (#18)
    by OriginalGTT on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 12:19:14 PM EST

    and the fact that the guy looked after it for five years rather does suggest to me that he has a connection to it.

    Hey idiot, he can't see the kid anymore. If you're so worried about the kids mental well-being, let her see the father. Otherwise, he shouldn't have to pay. If it's all about financial, the slut mother should go find the biological dad and make him pay.

    This guy is getting raped on both sides. No visitation, he has to give up support, and he has to deal with the fact that his gf cheated on him for years.

    Take it on the chin? Come check out how our court systems treat fathers in this country. Then maybe you can understand.

    ---
    I'm NOT on your level. Stay there, and I will stay up here where morals are high, and the air is sweet
    --Psychologist
    [ Parent ]

    *sigh* (2.80 / 5) (#19)
    by streetlawyer on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 12:23:46 PM EST

    You're still not happy, are you big guy?

    --
    Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
    [ Parent ]
    rofl! *nt* (1.66 / 6) (#20)
    by OriginalGTT on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 12:49:18 PM EST

    no text.

    ---
    I'm NOT on your level. Stay there, and I will stay up here where morals are high, and the air is sweet
    --Psychologist
    [ Parent ]
    Blatant logical errors. (3.14 / 7) (#22)
    by Signal 11 on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 07:07:12 PM EST

    In any case, the premis (that only blood relationship carries obligations) is flawed

    You are arguing a red herring argument - the facts of the case were that he had not legally adopted the child, and it was not his. The fact that he "looked after it for five years" means nothing - school teachers spend more time collectively with children than many of their parents. They (the teachers) have no obligation to pay child support.


    --
    Society needs therapy. It's having
    trouble accepting itself.
    [ Parent ]

    Money (4.00 / 3) (#27)
    by Woundweavr on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 10:19:08 PM EST

    Why this gentleman? Its not improbable at all that this cheater told the real father and/or other people she was sleeping with that he was the father and was met with refusal to pay and disbelief. Just because she tricked this guy into thinking he was the father doesnt mean he should have to support them for 18 years, especially when he hasn't seen the child in two and doesnt seem likely to be returned visitation rights.

    [ Parent ]
    Premise of article is factually incorrect (4.33 / 6) (#21)
    by sigwinch on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 05:57:28 PM EST

    Why don't you try reading the article you linked to. (What is this, Slashdot? ;-) The article says:
    He then went to court to try to set aside his acknowledgment of paternity, entered in court shortly after the girl's birth.
    In other words, he freely agreed that, for the purposes of the law, he was the child's father.

    In the light of that voluntary obligation, freely and willingly entered into, not removing the obligation because it would [deprive the child] of the legal rights and financial benefits of a parental relationship makes perfect sense.

    The moral of this story is that you shouldn't sign anything without thinking about the full legal ramifications. If you want conditions and limitations, then say so. If you don't understand the law, hire an attorney. The man could easily have entered into a limited child support contract that he could terminate upon finding that the child wasn't his. He could even have put in a clause to make the mother repay him if the child wasn't his, but he didn't. If he was a real cad, he could've made her repay *with interest*. Instead he went before the court, put his right hand on a bible, and said "I swear before God and these witnesses that this child is mine and I will support it", and judges tend to enforce that sort of agreement.

    --
    I don't want the world, I just want your half.

    deception (4.00 / 3) (#23)
    by Sikpup on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 04:24:56 AM EST

    It seems to me that if she knew or had reason to beleive that the childs' "father" might not be or wasn't the biological father, then this "contract" was entered into in a fraudulent fashion.

    His best course now would be to find out who the biological father is and pursue that person for the financial responsibilities to the child.

    Obviously the relationship wasn't very strong to begin with or the whole situation would never have occurred.

    The saddest part of this whole thing is the child suffers far more than anyone else through absolutely no fault of her own. It's not her fault that her mother was out cheating, that her "father" isn't biologically etc. Try explaining all this adult bs to a kid who has been turned into an emotional football. The welfare of the child should be put first, and the financial details worked out in such a fashion as to impose no further injury to her.

    [ Parent ]
    How freely did he agree? (4.75 / 4) (#24)
    by adamsc on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 02:45:55 PM EST

    Why don't you try reading the article you linked to.

    Since, as you pointed out, this isn't Slashdot, why do I need to remind you that disagreeing with you does not automatically imply that I didn't read the article?

    In other words, he freely agreed that, for the purposes of the law, he was the child's father.

    There's a lot of social pressure to "do the right thing" in cases like this and I think there's a very real question of just how freely he agreed to it. He was probably trying to avoid looking like a cad, particularly since if he was the father he would have to deal with the mother for years and it would thus be a good idea to avoid hostility. It's also likely that he was threatened with some of the legal actions she could have taken against a father who skipped out.

    It sounds like he only heard that she was sleeping with other men after the fact (remember the Years later, after the man heard rumors from friends that he was not the father part?). He almost certainly didn't doubt that he was the father at the time, which leads into a larger issue - is a legal claim based upon false evidence binding? He was lied to by the mother and I feel that the falsehood invalidates anything he agreed to because of it, just as courts have released people who admitted to crimes after finding that the police convinced them to sign confessions. It's not as if the usual reaction to a fradulent agreement is "You should have been more suspicious. Live with it."



    [ Parent ]
    He failed to ask for a paternity test... (3.00 / 2) (#34)
    by darthaggie on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 01:28:11 PM EST

    I think there's a very real question of just how freely he agreed to it.

    When in doubt, always ask for a paternity test. DNA testing is much much more accurate in determining who the father is, but previous tests where able to determine if any given man was not the father.

    He choose to take the mantle of responsibility. By his actions he became the father of that child. He's the only father, such as he is, that she's ever known.

    I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
    [ Parent ]

    It's not just when in doubt (4.33 / 3) (#37)
    by adamsc on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 02:43:19 AM EST

    The problem is when that doubt came - in this case, it sounds like he didn't start to question this until years after the fact. At the time, there might not have been any reason to doubt at first - with this case's logic, if you find out later it's too late. That means that you have to demand proof not just when in doubt but before signing anything, because you might find reason to doubt in the future.

    Also - I would argue that not fighting something is not the same as choosing it. If he didn't have reason to suspect another man was the father, why wouldn't he accept fatherhood? After all, as far as he knew he was the father which would mean he'd either accept that status voluntarily or have the weight of the law come against him, to say nothing of antagonizing someone he'd have to see for the next 18 years.

    [ Parent ]

    Sue the John Doe who made the baby (3.71 / 7) (#35)
    by Bernie Fsckinner on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 08:56:35 PM EST

    Subpoena the mother and make her tell who the father is. Then sue his ass for the child support.

    Mass. court: Non-biological father must continue child support | 41 comments (41 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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