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Billy Jean's not my lover.
June 18, 2002 7:47 AM   Subscribe

Billy Jean's not my lover. Should non-fathers pay child support to someone else's children? More states are saying "no."
posted by kablam (29 comments total)

 
Sounds crazy - can it be true?
posted by Spoon at 7:50 AM on June 18, 2002


what sounds crazy to me is the idea that someone would be forced to pay child support for a child that is not their's biologically; and they were misled to believe they were.
posted by folktrash at 7:55 AM on June 18, 2002


From the article: ...the current version allows judges to consider other factors - such as established relationships, family settings, financial arrangements, and emotional details.

I do like that California is trying to do the right thing by not having hard and fast rules about this, every case is different. I think that sometimes the question of whose sperm made the DNA contribution is secondary to who is actually the "father". If someone has acted as a father to a child, with all the rights and responsibilities that entails, he should be responsible for some support as well. You shouldn't be able to wash your hands of a child you've treated as your own in the past simply because you find out it's not yours biologically. And, by the same token, mothers should not be allowed to deny parental rights to men who are expected to pay child support, either the man is the father (biologically or not), or he isn't, but you can't expect him to pay support without also allowing him to participate in the child's life.
posted by biscotti at 8:06 AM on June 18, 2002


But then can the father who is not biologically the child's father claim right to custody as well?
posted by benjh at 8:14 AM on June 18, 2002


i agree that each case would be unique, and should have consideration of the individual situation, however, it seems that regardless of the situation, bonds or not, if an ex husband found out that his child was not in fact his biologically, he shouldn't be forced to continue to support that child financially.

i'm not saying i wouldn't expect most people in that situation to continue to be that childs father, in all ways that can manifest itself, including financially, cause i would; but it occurs to me that they shouldn't be forced to, that's all.

non-biological custody - good question. seems only if he continued financial support. full custody... shouldn't be a rule against it i suppose.
posted by folktrash at 8:17 AM on June 18, 2002


Yeah, lets not gloss over the fact that the men in these situations are there because they were deceived (purposely or otherwise) at some point by the child's mother. folktrash is right. While he should be a man and continue to help out a child who he has bonded with. However, to make it a legal obligation doesn't make sense. I also think that in these cases, a women should not be able to deny parental rights to someone she duped into thinking it was his child in the first place.
posted by srw12 at 8:32 AM on June 18, 2002


I have an interesting story, which takes place in New Zealand. A few days ago I ran into an ex boyfriend of mine. He has just found out that he has a nine year old child in New Zealand, fathered when he was 19.

It goes like this, he slept with a girl that he went to high school with. She told him she was on the pill, when he offered to wear a condom. Suprise suprise, she lied. She got pregnant. (My friend is under the impression that this girl really liked him and having his child was her way of keeping him.) When she told him the baby was his (they weren't dating exclusively and I think she got around a bit) he asked if they could do DNA testing. She refused.

Now under New Zealand law, all the woman has to do is point a finger at the man, say that he's the daddy, and he's legally obliged to pay paternity. She never has to prove it. So he was legally bound to provide for a child that he didn't know was his, and she was denying him the only way of finding out for sure. Right or wrong, he left the country and moved to Australia, as he thought she was just looking to milk him.

Recently the laws in Australia have merged with New Zealand law so that New Zealanders living in Australia now have to pay child support back home and he is being asked to provide 9 years worth of back pay. Finally he is legally allowed to get DNA testing to find out if the child is his (keeping in mind that the mother always refused before) Now we know that it is. He's happy to pay and wants contact with the child and is happy to accept financial responsiiblities that come with it. The mother is refusing it. She wants his money but doesn't want him to have anything to do with the child. Before the child's DNA was tested, my friend had to sign away any rights to step forward and ask for parental rights/custody/visits etc.

How is she allowed to have it both ways? How can you say you're the father, give me money, but you're not allowed to act like his father and assume parental rights and at least meet him, let alone have a say in how he's raised. It doesn't seem fair. He's been shafted every way possible. I have to say he's incredible bitter, and I don't blame him. This woman is taking him for a ride and the poor child, well, I don't even know if he realises that the man he is living with now isn't his real dad. It's so sad. He wants to do the right thing, but this woman is standing in the way.
posted by Jubey at 9:01 AM on June 18, 2002


Yes, let's make children suffer. That's the best answer.

If the child was raised with that father, the responsibility is still there. What about an infertile man, whose wife uses a sperm donor so they can have a child. Two years later, divorce. Can he opt out and say "well it's not mine?"

If a child is raised by two parents, then they are her parents regardless of bloodlines. Thus adoption has meaning. Why does it all get reduced down to someone's pocketbook?
posted by Red58 at 9:13 AM on June 18, 2002


I have an interesting story, which takes place in New Zealand. A few days ago I ran into an ex boyfriend of mine. He has just found out that he has a nine year old child in New Zealand, fathered when he was 19.

It goes like this, he slept with a girl that he went to high school with. She told him she was on the pill, when he offered to wear a condom. Suprise suprise, she lied. She got pregnant. (My friend is under the impression that this girl really liked him and having his child was her way of keeping him.) When she told him the baby was his (they weren't dating exclusively and I think she got around a bit) he asked if they could do DNA testing. She refused.

Now under New Zealand law, all the woman has to do is point a finger at the man, say that he's the daddy, and he's legally obliged to pay paternity. She never has to prove it. So he was legally bound to provide for a child that he didn't know was his, and she was denying him the only way of finding out for sure. Right or wrong, he left the country and moved to Australia, as he thought she was just looking to milk him.

Recently the laws in Australia have merged with New Zealand law so that New Zealanders living in Australia now have to pay child support back home and he is being asked to provide 9 years worth of back pay. Finally he is legally allowed to get DNA testing to find out if the child is his (keeping in mind that the mother always refused before) Now we know that it is. He's happy to pay and wants contact with the child and is happy to accept financial responsiiblities that come with it. The mother is refusing it. She wants his money but doesn't want him to have anything to do with the child. Before the child's DNA was tested, my friend had to sign away any rights to step forward and ask for parental rights/custody/visits etc.

How is she allowed to have it both ways? How can you say you're the father, give me money, but you're not allowed to act like his father and assume parental rights and at least meet him, let alone have a say in how he's raised. It doesn't seem fair. He's been shafted every way possible. I have to say he's incredible bitter, and I don't blame him. This woman is taking him for a ride and the poor child, well, I don't even know if he realises that the man he is living with now isn't his real dad. It's so sad. He wants to do the right thing, but this woman is standing in the way.
posted by Jubey at 9:15 AM on June 18, 2002


If the child was raised with that father, the responsibility is still there. What about an infertile man, whose wife uses a sperm donor so they can have a child. Two years later, divorce. Can he opt out and say "well it's not mine?"

In the case of a sperm-donor, both partners are aware of the child's origin before the birth. In the case of Adoption, both parents accept the responsibilty of the child. If a man is tricked into raising a child that is not his (perhaps even tricked into a marriage because of the pregnancy), why should he be legally responsible to support the child once he finds out it is not his? (whether he chooses to is a different story). If the male isn't held responsible legally in these situations, maybe (some) women would be less likely to try and trick people into these situations.
posted by stifford at 9:40 AM on June 18, 2002


Just out of curiosity could a 'deceived father' pursue a claim against a biological father?
posted by srboisvert at 10:47 AM on June 18, 2002


If you don't want to pay child support, you should stop and think where you put your willy. If you are not the biological father, you should not have any obligations.
posted by LinemanBear at 11:02 AM on June 18, 2002


If you really, really don't want to make a baby, use a condom/ diaghagm/ the pill, etc. Even then, there are accidents. If the baby is biologically yours, or you participated in and consented to the getting pregnant (via sperm donor) process, then you are morally and legally obligated to support the child. Even if the mother was deceptive. It's support for the child. Custody issues are not, and should not be, attached to monetary issues.

That said, I do know of too many cases where fathers are impoverished by unreasonable support requirements. But there are far more cases of impoverished women who get little or no support. Divorce is expensive, in many ways, and kids end up paying the highest price.
posted by theora55 at 11:07 AM on June 18, 2002


That said, I do know of too many cases where fathers are impoverished by unreasonable support requirements. But there are far more cases of impoverished women who get little or no support.

but as far as impoverished women, is that because the law doesn't require men to pay enough or is it because the guys were scumbags and skipped out on their payments? It seems silly to hold one man responsible for a kid that isn't his just because lots of other men are willing to skip out on their own children. I would think it should be judged on a case by case basis.
posted by stifford at 11:19 AM on June 18, 2002


If you really, really don't want to make a baby... If the baby is biologically yours... Even if the mother was deceptive

The situation referred to in the article and, moreover, other similar cases aren't necessarily cases of irresponsible people (although one could argue that an irresponsible mother is somewhat necessary, but I'm sure there are other circumstances I'm not thinking of). The guy in the article, if anything, was being overly responsible (although he didn't know it at the time) in caring for what was ultimately someone else's child. Should he sever all ties? No, of course not. But to obligate him seems entirely unfair.

We're not talking about fools who believe "Oh don't worry, I'm on the pill" from a girl/woman they just met... that's a slightly related but different can of worms.
posted by srw12 at 12:30 PM on June 18, 2002


I think in cases where the mother has *deliberately* deceived the father about paternity that the father should not be mandated to provide support. And there are instances where "child support" is just another phrase for alimony. In other words, the mother's lifestyle is being supported by the child support payments.

By the same token, there are lots and lots of cases where biological fathers don't pay support at all, or pay the lowest amount they can get away with. My father was one of those...he wandered off with a bimbo when I was 7 and my sister was 2 and my poor mom had to haul him in front of a judge on a regular basis just to get him to pay a pittance in child support. (And when I say a pittance, suffice it to say that it wouldn't have paid for shoes or clothes, much less school, books, food, housing or anything else.)

And my father was rich. Very rich. Rich enough to hire battalions of lawyers to keep him from paying child support. If given half of what he paid to the lawyers to his children, my sister and I would have had much better childhoods and might even be speaking to the bastard...assuming he's still alive somewhere...although, I'm sure if he wasn't, I'd have heard from a bill collector or an ex-wife who wanted my grandmother's china.

Fortunately, my stepfather (whom I consider my "real" dad) is a good, good man...and he shouldered the responsibility of raising two kids that weren't biologically his...and he is the best example of a Dad that any kid, anywhere, could have.

So, kudos to the men who raise children that are not biologically their own...assuming that they do it willingly and with full knowledge aforehand. But, it shouldn't be mandated, especially if knowledge of the child's heritage is hidden.
posted by dejah420 at 1:28 PM on June 18, 2002


Jubey, your mate is a total jerk. From the first he claimed to doubt this woman. Who is arrogant enough to think something like 'she wanted my child as a way of keeping me'? Surprise, surprise, she wasn't lying. The child was his and he ran away and stayed away for nine years.
He's still bad-mouthing this woman, and now claims he wants a say in parenting?
Jesus H!
If I keep typing all my Mefi-schooling will fall away, and I will revert to old, bad Catch, someone help me out?
posted by Catch at 2:05 PM on June 18, 2002


Surprise, surprise, she wasn't lying.

Yes, it WAS a surprise, because she refused to allow him to take the steps necessary to be assured of the veracity of her claim initially. Everyone is entitled to know the facts, to the degree that they can be known. Women lie (yeah, yeah, I know, men do too). She was asking him to make a lifetime commitment, emotionally and financially. If this woman didn't have doubts about the paternity of her child, why would she have refused DNA testing?
posted by rushmc at 3:39 PM on June 18, 2002


Catch: ...arrogant enough to think something like 'she wanted my child as a way of keeping me'?

I'm a woman. I've known women (not me - I don't want babies, thankyouverymuch) who actually think like that. Screwed up, emotionally needy, manipulative women. It does happen. The mental process seems to be something like, "I love him. I'll get pregnant and he'll have to stick around. Even if he doesn't, [sappy music] I'll have a part of him forever." [/sappy music]

The refusing-the-DNA-test part I don't even begin to understand. I agree that he's been a bit of a jerk about the whole thing, though, and can see why she might not want him to come strolling back into the child's life.
posted by NsJen at 4:15 PM on June 18, 2002


I'm a woman. I'm a New Zealand woman. If I told a guy I was pregnant by him and he said "I don't believe it's mine. I wanna dna test" I would send his testicles to Ruakura in a bottle.
posted by Catch at 8:11 PM on June 18, 2002


I'm gonna be grinning all night at that visual, Catch! *laughing* Thanks!
posted by NsJen at 8:19 PM on June 18, 2002


Catch: while I'm not entirely decided on this issue, I'm fairly certain what you're proposing should not be allowed.
posted by ODiV at 9:32 PM on June 18, 2002


Catch: because it's impossible for you to be wrong, right?
posted by gyc at 9:41 PM on June 18, 2002


Right.
*folds arms, summons the spirits of ancestors, glowers menacingly, etc*
posted by Catch at 10:57 PM on June 18, 2002


Catch: If a woman claimed to want money from me for the rest of my life for a kid, and refused to let me know if it was actualy mine, I would send their tits to Ruakura ina bottle.
posted by delmoi at 11:45 PM on June 18, 2002


*yelp*
posted by holloway at 1:27 AM on June 19, 2002


I have an interesting story, which takes place in New Zealand. A few days ago I ran into an ex boyfriend of mine. He has just found out that he has a nine year old child in New Zealand, fathered when he was 19.

It goes like this, he slept with a girl that he went to high school with. She told him she was on the pill, when he offered to wear a condom. Suprise suprise, she lied. She got pregnant. (My friend is under the impression that this girl really liked him and having his child was her way of keeping him.) When she told him the baby was his (they weren't dating exclusively and I think she got around a bit) he asked if they could do DNA testing. She refused.

Now under New Zealand law, all the woman has to do is point a finger at the man, say that he's the daddy, and he's legally obliged to pay paternity. She never has to prove it. So he was legally bound to provide for a child that he didn't know was his, and she was denying him the only way of finding out for sure. Right or wrong, he left the country and moved to Australia, as he thought she was just looking to milk him.

Recently the laws in Australia have merged with New Zealand law so that New Zealanders living in Australia now have to pay child support back home and he is being asked to provide 9 years worth of back pay. Finally he is legally allowed to get DNA testing to find out if the child is his (keeping in mind that the mother always refused before) Now we know that it is. He's happy to pay and wants contact with the child and is happy to accept financial responsiiblities that come with it. The mother is refusing it. She wants his money but doesn't want him to have anything to do with the child. Before the child's DNA was tested, my friend had to sign away any rights to step forward and ask for parental rights/custody/visits etc.

How is she allowed to have it both ways? How can you say you're the father, give me money, but you're not allowed to act like his father and assume parental rights and at least meet him, let alone have a say in how he's raised. It doesn't seem fair. He's been shafted every way possible. I have to say he's incredible bitter, and I don't blame him. This woman is taking him for a ride and the poor child, well, I don't even know if he realises that the man he is living with now isn't his real dad. It's so sad. He wants to do the right thing, but this woman is standing in the way.
posted by Jubey at 10:22 PM on June 19, 2002


I have an interesting story, which takes place in New Zealand. A few days ago I ran into an ex boyfriend of mine. He has just found out that he has a nine year old child in New Zealand, fathered when he was 19.

It goes like this, he slept with a girl that he went to high school with. She told him she was on the pill, when he offered to wear a condom. Suprise suprise, she lied. She got pregnant. (My friend is under the impression that this girl really liked him and having his child was her way of keeping him.) When she told him the baby was his (they weren't dating exclusively and I think she got around a bit) he asked if they could do DNA testing. She refused.

Now under New Zealand law, all the woman has to do is point a finger at the man, say that he's the daddy, and he's legally obliged to pay paternity. She never has to prove it. So he was legally bound to provide for a child that he didn't know was his, and she was denying him the only way of finding out for sure. Right or wrong, he left the country and moved to Australia, as he thought she was just looking to milk him.

Recently the laws in Australia have merged with New Zealand law so that New Zealanders living in Australia now have to pay child support back home and he is being asked to provide 9 years worth of back pay. Finally he is legally allowed to get DNA testing to find out if the child is his (keeping in mind that the mother always refused before) Now we know that it is. He's happy to pay and wants contact with the child and is happy to accept financial responsiiblities that come with it. The mother is refusing it. She wants his money but doesn't want him to have anything to do with the child. Before the child's DNA was tested, my friend had to sign away any rights to step forward and ask for parental rights/custody/visits etc.

How is she allowed to have it both ways? How can you say you're the father, give me money, but you're not allowed to act like his father and assume parental rights and at least meet him, let alone have a say in how he's raised. It doesn't seem fair. He's been shafted every way possible. I have to say he's incredible bitter, and I don't blame him. This woman is taking him for a ride and the poor child, well, I don't even know if he realises that the man he is living with now isn't his real dad. It's so sad. He wants to do the right thing, but this woman is standing in the way.
posted by Jubey at 10:22 PM on June 19, 2002


Dude, now you're just, like, being scary.
posted by Catch at 10:37 PM on June 19, 2002


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