Archive for the 'Paternity' Category

Who is the Father, and Dad’s Been Duped

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Geneticists now say that roughly 10 per cent of the population is not fathered by the man they believe to be Dad. This revelation, made clear in the course of conducting large population studies as part of disease research and reinforced by individual paternity tests, challenges the long-held assumption of female monogamy and utterly shakes the assumption that women are biologically driven to single-mate bliss.

DNA analysis presents society with all sorts of new ethical problems, and now it’s pulling this naked truth out of the closet and into the courtroom.

Men who call themselves “Duped Dads” are looking for legal redress to protect themselves against paternity fraud, raising questions about the definition of fatherhood. Several U.S. states are considering legislation that could exempt non-biological fathers from having to pay child support.

As one reporter said of this revelation, full siblings become half-siblings, fathers are revealed as genetic strangers to more than one of their children, and uncles who are much closer to their nieces and nephews than anyone might guess. Many people are chips off someone else’s block, and attempts to trace the family tree can snap entire branches from it.

Men Are Strictly Liable

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Unlike maternity, which is never in uncertain from a legal standpoint, paternity can become very much an issue in dispute, particularly by a man who finds himself on the cusp of unsought and unwelcome fatherhood. In all jurisdictions, courts hold men to a strict liability for a child that results from their union. A man cannot claim that he is but a contractor if he impregnates a woman at her request and then argue that he is without a responsibility to support the child. Despite the number of men who attempt to argue along this line, courts have consistently held that a man is responsible for the child.

Parents cannot agree to construct a family in a way that relieves one of them — the father — of child support obligation. Nor can the woman who becomes pregnant in this routine waive child support as an inducement for the man to cooperate. Courts have ruled that, outside of the jurisdiction’s statute on artificial insemination, a man cannot waive his parental rights (or the responsibility of child support), nor can a mother.

Moreover, a man cannot escape his responsibilities by claiming that his partner misrepresented her use of birth control or even her own fertility. Courts have universally held that a father’s allegation of the mother’s deception is completely irrelevant to issues of paternity and child support.

Usually biological paternity can be imposed by a court on a man who has no biological ties to the child when a man has presented himself to the world as the father of a child.

The question of paternity may give rise to a paternity suit, which is a legal action to determine whether a man is the father of a child born out of wedlock. The purpose of this action is to enforce support obligations.