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The Black Cornerempty posted on: 9.02
Mike Ramey Mike Ramey
Child Support and Consequences, Part 5
by Mike Ramey
The Manhoodline
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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 vote!

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.

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 manner.

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.

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.

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 Child Support.

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?

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 Child Support.

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 of dollars.

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.

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 organizations.

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.

Mike Ramey is the author of: "The Manhood Line", a monthly, syndicated column written for men from a biblical, business, and common-sense perspective. To correspond, drop email to
The opinions expressed are those of the author and are used on by permission.
©Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications, 2002

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