Brothers, remember the old saying: "Mama’s baby is Papa’s…maybe?"
As it turns out, a few brave lawmakers at the state level
around the country are re-visiting this old saying. To ‘cliff’ it for you, these
lawmakers are attempting to right more than a few wrongs in the Child Support
arena, by passing land mark legislation which holds that IF the ‘Father’ of a
child is NOT the true, biological ‘Father’ of a child, he has NO legal obligation
to pay Child Support.
What? You say you haven’t HEARD of this new ‘revelation in
legislation’? I’m not surprised, because there are some factions of the Child
Support ‘machine’ that want to make sure that you DON’T!
In this, our fifth installment of this ongoing series, yours
truly is going to spell it out for you--including WHICH states have such legislation
on the books, and which states are thinking about it. With this being an election
year, those who KNOW that they are paying Child Support for a child (or children)
whom is NOT theirs could wind up getting some incentive to make their way to register--and
You can BET those who would like to keep you paying are going
to do their part to make sure that YOU continue to foot the bill for a child whom
may NOT be yours.
TO BRING YOU UP TO SPEED:
This series was started with a simple premise. To tell the truth about the Child
Support system in the USA. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the impossible. For
those of you who may have tuned in late, my view is the following: IF a man fathers
a child, HE should help to support that child, the BEST that he is able to do.
In other words, if one plays, one PAYS! However, on the other side of the same
coin, the father ALSO has a LEGAL right to visitation, if he is paying Child Support.
While the American legal system has been doing wonders in
collecting Child Support, it has been woefully lacking in protecting the visitation
rights of non-custodial parents. There are FAR too many custodial parents (many
of them the mothers of the children in question) who want ‘Daddy’ to fork over
the money, but don’t want to grant visitation--even though the law and the courts
are quite clear on the matter. If HE is the father of the child, HE has the right
to visitation, regardless of whether or not Child Support is paid in a satisfactory
Now, from a man’s perspective, I constantly hear about how
a ‘village’ is needed to raise a child. Unfortunately, many of those who spout
this rhetoric are ignorant as to the reality of the law. It is up to the parents
of the child to raise that child! And, if two MADE that baby, you can’t have one
parent paying to support the child…and then denied access to that same child.
My mailbag is crowded with letter from ‘custodial’ parents
who paint the ‘non-custodial’ parent with the dirtiest brush available--but WON’T
give back a dime of what they have received in the form of Child Support. My line
of thinking is: IF the non-custodial parent is THAT bad, then GIVE THE MONEY BACK!
I’ve had no takers on that point.
DNA TECHNOLOGY MOVES IN:
Back in June of this year, David Crary of the Associated Press filed a New York
bylined story on the use of DNA technology to determine the ultimate solution
to the issue of “Who’s The Baby’s Daddy”. It seems that the state of Georgia enacted
legislation back in May of this year, saying that if the non-custodial parent
undergoes a DNA test and is found NOT to be the biological father of the child
receiving court-ordered support payments, HE no longer HAS to pay for that child!
Georgia is NOT alone on this issue. California, Vermont, Massachusetts
and Michigan, according to the AP story, are also considering similar legislation.
Sure, it may be buried ‘down in the deck’ of laws for passage, but the issue IS
gathering momentum--and support from more than a few people.
OPPOSITION TO THESE NEW LAWS:
Of course, with news like this, expect various women’s groups--and custodial parents
groups--to try to throw a brick into the proverbial punch bowl. In their view,
once a non-custodial parent STARTS paying, regardless of the DNA Paternity results,
they should KEEP paying.
I find the rationale of the opposition a little suspect.
First, it is suspect because of the relationship between the
father and mother of the child. If the father of the child is NOT the father of
the child, why continue a LIE in order to fill the mother’s pockets? The REAL
father of the child should be found, and made to pay HIS fair share. If mothers
CAN NOT remember WHO the real father is, then NO ONE can be put on the hook for
Second, if it is NOT about the money, then the custodial parent
OUGHT to want to find the REAL father of the child so bonding may take place.
That is, if MONEY isn’t really that important.
Or, is it?
BUT WAIT--THERE’S MORE!
In some states, the proposed legislation would create a whole new crime category
for custodial parents who falsely name fathers of their children only to collect
The name of the proposed crime: PATERNITY FRAUD. Penalties
would be stiff, including possible prison time, and the repayment of monies collected
under false paternity claims. Thus, if ‘Mama’ were caught in a LIE as to the identity
of the father, not only could SHE go to prison, SHE would have to repay ALL of
the Child Support that she has received! And, as any non-custodial parent knows,
based on the current laws, that amount of repayment could run into the thousands
The AP article, which has a publication date of June 16th,
2002, also cited information from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
It seems there are more than a dozen states that have laws on the books to allow
for fathers to de-establish paternity claims with DNA or other forms of genetic
testing, in some circumstances. A few states have no-limit provisions--meaning
that a father could file at any time to see IF he is the father of a child. IF
it were found that he is NOT the father of a child, HE would not be bound by Child
Support orders from a court.
CHECK OUT YOUR OWN STATE:
According to the AP article, there is also a suit heading to the US Supreme Court
on the issue of Paternity Fraud. Plus, the Alliance for Non-Custodial Parents’
Rights is urging its members to press lawmakers in their respective states for
such legislation to see the light of day. Do an Internet search to find these
Non-custodial parents have been the brunt of a ‘debtor prison’
mentality when it comes to Child Support payments. Custodial parents have LONG
said, “It’s NOT about the money!” With legislation making its way across the country
addressing the paternity question, the Child Support system may finally get what
has been long overdue.
True system reform.