January 29, 2007 7:37 AM
'Duped Dads' could get off the child-support hook
Dylan Davis was a "duped dad. Friends told him they believed his twin children weren't his and, after divorcing his wife, a paternity test proved he wasn't the father. Still, he is required under Colorado law to pay child support, reports Julie Poppen.
"I felt I had been duped and . . . lied to, and the state didn't care," he said. A bill that would undo that law and allow a man to get out of paying child support if he can prove the child is not his is expected to be voted on today by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Davis, who has become one of the faces for what has become known as "duped dad" syndrome, will be there to try to persuade legislators to come around to his point of view.
Davis, who works for a start-up company and lives in a downtown Denver apartment, still pays $663 a month in child support, but he has no contact with the children, who live out of state.
He was able to reduce the amount of support after he was laid off from his job as a software engineer at Sun Microsystems. However, he owes his ex-wife $32,000 in back payments after having fallen behind schedule.
His ex-wife declined to comment for this story.
Georgia, Florida, Maryland and Ohio have laws that protect men who prove they are not biological fathers, he said.
A similar effort in Colorado two years ago failed to garner the necessary support. But Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, the bill's sponsor this year, said the vote was close. The organization Citizens Against Paternity Fraud estimates that 1 million men nationwide are in Davis' predicament.
Should a man who isn't a child's biological father be required to pay child support? What if the man had raised the child as his own for several years before discovering the deception? Or had willingingly accepted the child as his own knowing he wasn't the father? How should the child's best interest be balanced against the fairness for a "duped dad"?