Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'm Not The Father, So Why Am I Paying Child Support?

Over the past couple of years, I have been shocked to see the number of men who are paying child support for children who are not biologically theirs. What usually happens is that a man is duped into believing that he is the biological father of a child from birth, and only learns that he is not the father many years later. If a man stipulates that he is the father of a child, without DNA testing, he receives all his parental rights and responsibilities to that child, including the responsibility of paying for child support if the child in question resides with the mother. If the DNA testing is waived, in Florida, a father only has a short time within which he can dispute paternity at a later date. Therefore, if the father learns years later that he is not the father, he will be on the hook for child support until the child reaches the age of eighteen. Florida cares first and foremost about the best interests of the child, and when a man has been in a child's life as their father, the State believes that it is in the child's best interest to continue to have this person provide for them. I know that there are quite a number of states that have laws on this subject similar to the laws here in Florida. There has been a rising number of people who are willing to fight the system and are attempting to change the laws to be more fair to "duped dads". However, in cases where the parties are not married, I believe the simplest and most cost efficient way to solve the case of paternal mistaken identity is to make DNA testing mandatory for each and every case. Therefore, all parties will know who is or is not biologically linked to a child from the start of a case.

If you would like to read a recent article in Time Magazine concerning "duped dads", please see the following: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1580398,00.html

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