Thursday, May 14, 2009

When the law is an ass

I'm infuriated to read of a Georgia law that can force a man to pay child support - for a child that isn't his! A report by points out that even if a DNA test proves a man isn't the father, he can still be required by the State to pay up, or else.

A colleague points out that this is a very difficult situation. The children in question have usually been born in the context of a relationship (either marriage or cohabitation) that later ends in a break-up. If the man had fathered the child, he would normally pay child support from that time onward. If he stops paying child support, the mother and child would be left in financial need. That will still happen if he stops paying, on the grounds that the child isn't his. Who's going to take up the burden?

I agree with my colleague that the burden remains to be lifted: but if the woman has cheated on her partner, and the child isn't his, I fail to see why he should bear financial responsibility for it, unless he knew it wasn't his and nevertheless freely elected to assume that responsibility. Fraud is fraud. If he was conned, he should have the right to prove that, and have the burden of responsibility (financial and otherwise) lifted from his shoulders.

As to who should take up the burden, I'm all for forcing the mother to divulge the identity of the true father, proving that by further DNA testing, and charging him for ongoing child maintenance. I'd also force the mother to pay back to her former partner all the money she dishonestly extorted from him under false pretenses. There can be no tolerance for what is, after all, theft, no matter what the motivation.

What say you, readers? Am I being too harsh? Do you have an alternative solution?



Wayne Conrad said...

The Georgia law in this case appears to be a kissing cousin to the "deep pockets" concept of tort law.

Justice is often "harsh" to someone. You can't rightfully steal money from someone to give to another just because someone else (in this case, the child) needs it.

Becky said...

I feel sorry for the kids, especially if they were raised by the only man they've ever called Dad (as opposed to a check in the mail).

Anonymous said...

There is NO WAY a man should be held responsible for kids that aren't his. Period. Any "lawmaker" or judge who insists otherwise should, in the immortal words of the late great Rob "Acidman" Smith, be "dragged off and shot"!


Anonymous said...

I agree with you: If he accepted responsibility for a child he knew wasn't his, fine. If she cheated on him, and he didn't know, then he shouldn't be on the hook for the child support, never mind the cost of the divorce. In any case I feel bad for the kids, they didn't choose to be a part of this.


Anonymous said...

He should not be on the hook for child support.

Mario in PY said...

Not enough information!!

Has the man been living with this woman when the child in question was born?
If YES, for how long before the birth has there been cohabitaion?
If NO, was there cohabitation before the birth? What timeframe in relation to the birth?
Did the man declare himself the father when registering the birth?
Has the man been living with the woman and the baby after the birth? And for how long?

If there was no cohabitation involved, has there been some relationship - work and/or sentimental - between these two?

Is this woman trying to save her "hide" by accusing this man?
Is this woman looking for revenge?
Check out this article on the Center for Military Readiness website titled Sex, Lies and Rape.

On an idealistic level, each child has a right to recieve support from both father AND mother. And each consenting adult needs to assume the obligation to support a human being that is the result of sexual intercourse.

And with more and more women in the workforce and pursuing a career, my humble opinion is that they should also participate with the financial obligations of child support.

OTOH, the feminist movement seems to have sought equal rights for women regarding the Privleges but NOT the Obligations.

And since many (if not most) polititians are very afraid of angering the more vocal lobbyists, they will put laws on the books that will - superficially - provide justice and equality. But those laws in reality are so loopsided, that they go to the other extreem and generate more injustice than before.

Anonymous said...

If a man living with a woman gets another woman pregnant, should the woman he cheated on be responsible for his child by the other woman? If that sounds ridiculous so does a man having to pay for another mans child.

Brandon said...

I don't think you're being too harsh at all; rather, I think your approach is the correct one entirely.