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'Duped dads' bill could foster closer ties
Wednesday, February 7 at 12:01 AM

By Mike McCormick and Glenn Sacks

Senate Bill 56, the new Colorado paternity fraud bill, addresses the dilemma faced by men who discover that the children they are paying child support for are not biologically theirs. The bill would allow “duped dads” to terminate their support obligations by utilizing DNA evidence.

In a recent Rocky Mountain News column, editorial pages editor Vincent Carroll labels these men “the picky type whose parental love depends on a genetic link” and says they seek to throw their nonbiological children “overboard with a minimum of fuss.” (“Suffer the children,” On Point, Jan. 31.)

Carroll does have a point — SB 56 allows the duped dad to sever financial ties between the children and the only father they have ever known. Carroll, and the women’s advocates who oppose SB 56, are concerned that the bill will destroy close father-child bonds.

In many cases, however, paternity fraud claims arise after the duped dad has been pushed to the margins of the children’s lives during a divorce or separation. Sometimes the mother even attempts to use the fact that the man is not the biological father as a way to get the family court to limit or deny him visitation time, while still demanding that he pay child support. Perhaps a Gandhi or a St. Joseph might be content to pay their exes a large portion of their income in such situations, but they may be the only ones.

Carroll, and practically every other person who has ever written about paternity fraud, misses an important point: Many duped dads still want to parent their nonbiological children, provided they are allowed a meaningful role in their lives. Some duped dads even wage long, expensive legal battles to remain in the lives of the children with whom they have bonded. Paternity fraud receives substantial media coverage, but these committed men rarely make the news stories.

For these men, SB 56 is not a way out of fatherhood but a way back in. It would give duped dads the bargaining power they often need to preserve their relationships with the children. Under SB 56, a duped dad could say to his ex-wife, “Yes, I’m willing to help support the children financially, but you first need to allow me to have a relationship with them.”

Carroll and others seem to equate child support with fatherhood. There is nothing in SB 56 that prevents a father from continuing his relationship with the children, or from financially supporting them, as long as the mother allows it.

If the bill’s opponents want to effectively preserve the bonds between these duped dads and their nonbiological children, their focus should not be on child support but instead on creating a presumption of shared parenting after a divorce or separation. Under this presumption, as long as both parents (including nonbiological fathers) are fit, they will each have the right to substantially equal physical time with their children. Such legislation would greatly reduce the number of men seeking to disestablish paternity.

Even for those duped dads who do want out, opponents of SB 56 should be more understanding. Some of these men are heartbroken that their wives lied to them and the children over such an important and intimate matter. Many feel a burning sense of humiliation. Some have been manhandled by the bungling, often abusive child-support system, and have no desire to remain under its heel for another 10 or 15 years.

It is true that these men sometimes don’t handle the situation as well or as nobly as we would like. Nonetheless, they deserve better than to be harshly denounced as they grapple with the terrible problem their ex-wives created for them.

Mike McCormick is the executive director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children (www.acfc.org). Glenn Sacks’ columns on men’s and fathers’ issues have appeared in dozens of the largest newspapers in the United States. His Web site is www.GlennSacks.com


READER COMMENTS

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Posted by cjnzzrldgs on October 1, 2007 12:46 PM

I am a second wife who readily supported my husband and three kids from a previous marriage. As long as my hubby and I were dating, all was wonderful. We got to see the kids almost daily, pick up/drop off for school, functions and just about everything else. There was no support order because the ex agreed to $500 per month as well as our buying other necessities like tennis, school fees, insurance etc.

As soon as we (the hubby & I) announced our engagement, all hell broke out. The kids were no longer able to come over or even talk to us on the phone. When my hubby hired an attorney to get "set visitation" the ex told us it will never happen. She initiated a child support order and was awarded $800 per month and on the issue of joint custody, his ex announced that the kids were not his and she will not agree to any kind of shared custody.

We were advised to pay for paternity testing (from our own pocket $925) and of the three, the middle child is the only one that was his.

We went back to court with the issue of paternity. If he wasn't allowed to see the children because he is not their biological dad then why should he have to pay. The Judge pretty much told us that we had a lose-lose case because he was going to have to continue to support the kids (because it's in their best interest) but he had no legal right to custody for the two that are not his but no custody of the one that is his was granted either.

And yes, it gets worse. Since the mom has since remarried and divorced, she allows the middle child (the one that he actually fathered) who is now 14, to come to the house very -very seldomly especially if there is a need for money, etc.

The third child, now an 11yr old girl has ran away from home to our house on three occassions because she doesn't understand why she no longer gets to see us especially now that her brother is allowed sometimes. She cries alot now, very depressed and not performing at school anymore. She said she heard her stepdad and mom arguing and knows that my husband is not her dad. She has asked her mom time and time again who her dad is but her mom doesn't plan to tell her.

The last time she ran to our house, my husband sat her down and explained that although he isn't her "real" dad that he still loves her and will always be there for her whenever he can. The child actually asked if we knew who her daddy is and if would we please tell her. When we told her we did not know, she fell to the floor and cried until her mom made it to pick her up a couple of hours later. We had to physically hold her in the house until her mom got there and hold her while we put her in the car with her mom. It was the saddest thing I ever saw in my life all while my children with my hubby watched.

As for the 1st child who is now 17, she moved away from her mom (and has since had 2 children). She does not communicate with her mom at all and says she hates her and will never forgive her.

Now you tell me that the courts did what was in the best interest of these children.

They are aiding a manipulative greedy woman in destroying the lives of her children and causing a great deal of grief in my home.

Posted by Annie Sieth on July 16, 2007 01:42 PM

There is no doubt that historically there have been both mothers and fathers that have behaved badly. It appears that our children are indeed paying the price for adults mistakes. Our society complains about abscent fathers, yet our court systems do not allow fathers to be involved in childrens lives they are by most legal documents "visitors" in their childrens lives. Putting questions in childrens minds about why they no longer have two equal parents. Our legal system has set up our children to be bargaining chips for money. The less time a mother allows the father to spend with the child the more money she gets. Money that she has no accountability for. I have spoken to many men and women who realize that these fathers are paying often even more then they earn. Some of them are in jail due to an inability to pay the excessive amounts orderd by a judge.The system has set up families for conflict and fathers to fail. The only time I have seen equality with parenting time is when the mother agrees to it. Hence all of the power during this process is in the mothers hands. It suprises me that in our modern world of equality and justice that men have lost their rights to be equal parents.

Posted by Jodi on April 8, 2007 12:59 PM

Financial slavery based on fraud, lies, and deceit is rewarded in California. Even with all the evidence present of DNA paternity exams, lies under penalty of perjury, and admittance of the real biological father, it does nothing for victims, like myself. But you know what the mother gets?? Double the child support amount. And you know what else...............she gets a tummy tuck, adds a patio to her house, and a very nice pool with landscaping. The gov't considers the best interest of the child, well it needs to consider that the fraudulent mother "should have" considered this interest first, correct the issue, and prosecute these "criminals" Other lives and families are subject to financial slavery and subsequently failure, just because some woman decides to "point the finger" and say, he's the father. This needs to stop, not continue to exploit.

Posted by Manuel Zarate on March 16, 2007 02:06 PM

If so many women are so interested in getting the "best" support award for their children, it would seem that in these past few decades there would be a few middle income mothers who would volunteer to submit a financial statement to help proove or disproove the Federal Guideline numbers. Until this happens, the name should be changed to Mother Support. This might take some of the political charge out of the current system, and give more accuracy to what the system is really all about.

Maybe there could also be a guideline that loose describes fair use of the money. My children do not owe their mom a luxery car, or a cruise. Extra support should be banked for the child's education or emergency expenses, not get mom a new hair tyle.

The arguement that many women respond with is that it is not enough to waste on themselves. The poverty end of the charts is pretty bleak, but poverty is a seperate problem. Lets look at the $1000 a month after taxes in payment, and add it to the $700 and up mother's share of the payment. We often forget that in most states there is a shared income mothod, and mom has a portion to put up toward the child too.

Where does it go? Does mom even care to put hers up EVERY month, and doccument her and dad's share.

NOPE!!!!

Posted by Ray on February 15, 2007 07:51 AM

Unfortunately, I am one of the fathers that has tried to fight (spending tens of thousands on attorneys) only to see my child support raised and my time with my sons diminished... to nothing.

I have a son here in Denver that I pay over $1200 a month in child support for that I NEVER get to see.

Tricia Byrne a.k.a Otto hides behind a corrupt legal system THAT IS FINANCIALLY INCENTED TO COLLECT AS MUCH CHILD SUPPORT AS POSSIBLE.

She used to let me see my son, but I made the mistake of asking for joint custody. She saw her child support check going down and now does not let me see him at all.

The real crooks are the attorneys who take your money and have no intention of actually "fighting" for anything.

Robert B. Wareham, ESQ being one of them. He actually charged me thousands of dollars to fight for visitation when he knew all along that their was no chance of winning due to a legal technicality.

These attorneys are so worried about their reputation with the judges, they are not willing to risk it by contesting obscene child support orders or making an issue of a mother flat out denying parenting time to the father... with NO reason whatsoever... other than she is concerned she might lose some child support.

The situation is unacceptable and fathers need to do something to make enough noise to fix it... NOW!!!

Anyone reading this article that is involved with a joint parenting time organization please email me and let me know how to contact your organization. I have had enough. It is time to start doing something about this issue... other than making attorney's house payemnts every month.

Inetron@comcast.net

Posted by Ron Pitcock, Jr. on February 14, 2007 02:56 PM

It looks like half of my comment didn't make it through. To clarify, what my comment relates to is McCormick's comment that if the goal is to preserve bonds between duped dads and their nonbiological children then the focus should not be on child support but on creating a presumption of shared parenting upon divorce or separation.

Posted by Tom James on February 14, 2007 07:44 AM

>

Great point.

You often hear paternity fraud perpetrators and their advocates proclaiming that being a father isn't about being a sperm donor. What you never hear them acknowledge is that being a father isn't about being a paycheck, either. Thanks for pointing it out.

Posted by Tom James on February 14, 2007 07:36 AM

I am a mother of a child who has never seen his father...Not because I chose it but because he chose it...He has never shown up to a court hearing for a paternity test, but wants to deny to the fullest that this child now almost 6 years old isn't and couldn't be his...Well I have news for you...every adult in this world knows what it takes to make a child...duh...I believe it is wrong for women to lie about the paternity of their chihldren for financial gain. I also think it is wrong for these women to deny their children relationships with men they have bonded with. So there is my 2 cents on the matter...From a SAHM in Ohio raising 3 of my own children and 3 of my husband's from a previous marriage....

Posted by Kelly on February 14, 2007 06:23 AM

Jeff Kris makes several logical points and solutions. However I don't see eye-to-eye with Fathers who think they can find justice through FUTILE legal efforts (like i did) in a nation of injustice. Fathers NEED to take a step back and ask theirselves "what message am i sending to my children and what will they think the definition of a man is, if they see their Father complying with terrorists (family courts & Attorney Generals) or conforming to Totalitarianism?" Fathers, don't WASTE money on attorneys (legal racketeers) family law attorneys do NOT have your children's best interest at mind. But if you do decide to hire an attorney, never prepay (retainer) ...... make them EARN it !! And Fathers watch your bank - they work WITH terrorists (Attorney Generals) dispensing all and every aspect of your account and banking habits.

Steve Hutchings of Texas

Posted by Steve Hutchings on February 9, 2007 02:11 PM

Plain and simple, Not your child, Not your obligation. Lets start charging these "mothers" with fraud and desception for finacial gain. After all, IF you lie on an appplication for a mortgage or lie on an welfare application then that is fraud. So why are these women allowed to get away with lying for finacial gains. Rather than ranting on this board, Join a father's right group. This is how I found the artical. I live in Massachusetts and it was posted on acfc.org. Also write your congressman or congresswomen. what ever the case may be.

Most fathers want to be a part of their childs life. There are a few dirt bags out there. But not many. The system is very bias and stack against fathers. Ask any man that had to deal with the courts when the mother is unreasonable. Pro-choice + pro-life = pro-responsibilty. If its your body, then its your responsiblity, including finacial responsibilty. Men don't have a say in the mater. Only a women can choose if a man is a parent. But this is a whole other debate.

Fathers, Know your rights, Dont assume them. You will be surprise . Trust me. I was. We also need to remove the word visitation from the courts. I don't visit my children, I RAISE THEM.....and Support them. How can anyone tell a man you can see your kids every other weekend 5-7 m,w,f.?????? WE go from tucking our children in bed every night too weekend dads. Hmmmmm, Dont forget if you miss a child support payment. then you will get a nasty letter from the state threating to revoke our license or worst. Yet my ex can quite her job , not work for a month or two. And the state hands her a welfare check with food stamps. why not take her license or arrest her.

Remember when you go to family courts guys, ASk the judge for an order to demand the mother finacialy support your children too. Very few guys get that in their agreement. You have that right. I did, And when she quite her job, I charged her with violating our custody agreement. NOthing came of it. But the judge did tell her to look for a job.

Posted by JEFF KRIS on February 8, 2007 07:05 PM

Vince Carrol's an idiot on this one!

Posted by Ralph on February 8, 2007 04:58 PM

Lou Robinson's comment is the best I've read. It could not be anymore on the mark. Back in the late 80's early 90's, family courts in texas were getting away from awarding alimony and feminists knew they would have to develop a "backdoor" approach to still get alimony without the label. Feminists knew "Child support" would be their meal ticket because there is no accountability. "Child support" is code for alimony. Custodial egg donors and State Attorney Generals hide behind law enforcement to steal money by proxy. They are all cowards and racketeers. What upsets me more though is how many Fathers tolerate it, and how much money they waste on futile legal efforts (attorneys = racketeer) when they should take matters into their own hands. Unfortunately the only way to protect our children and next generation of fathers from bondage and restore justice is through a zero tolerance approach (bloodshed), like fallen hero Herbert Chalmers did when Attorney General of Missouri refused to stop stealing (known as garnishing) his wages for children that were not his. "Every Father that fights, refuses and resists injustice ..... is part of the solution" and "For every Father that conforms to injustice ..... is part of the problem" and "Every Father that does not stand up for what is right ...... makes it harder on his fellow brother"

Steve Hutchings / Texas

Posted by Steve Hutchings on February 8, 2007 02:11 PM

The Child Support System of this country in reality, practice and design has more to do with a continous effort to collect and funnel enormous amounts of money through a system which realizes vast profits on the backs & misery of the children and non-custodial parents. The Child Support system reaps an enormous amount of interest from collected funds lining their coffers before it is slowly disbursed to Custodial Parents, also from the large amount of undisbursed funds for whatever the reason.
The Child Support System is essentially a Banking operation which does not fall under any national banking laws. There are no periodic statements of accounts provided to the Custodial or the non Custodial parent. ie regarding funds collected against funds disbursed. Therefore, niether party is able to reconcile their Child Support account. There are no milestone child support cut off dates in the system such as with the Social Security administration. Non custodial parents continue to pay child support for children who have pasted their 21th birthday, are no longer with the custodial parent. ie, married, deceased, incarcerated, in the military, left the country, where abouts unknown & etc. Undisbursed funds collected are never returned to the non-custodial parent ,so what is done with these monies? Custodial parents are not required to notify the system if there is a change in their economic situation. There are Child Support awards much greater than the immediate needs of the child that's being squandered by irresponsible Custodial parents instead of being directed to an appropiate savings for the child's future. The term Custodial Parent does not always mean a responsible parent and the Child Support system is more of a profitable government racateering system that hides behind their design and duping the public under the color of law, that their approach on the matter of Child Support is in the Childs best interest. I suppose the aforementioned point and issues are not spoken about in the Media because it's not Politically Correct.

Posted by Lou Robinson on February 8, 2007 08:25 AM

Well said!
The emperor has no clothes........the notion that you can replace dad with money and that that money is being spent on the children is absurd.
80% of the prison poplation is from fatherless homes, and mothers can spend CS any way they want since they don't have to account for it to anyone.

Posted by Robert on February 8, 2007 05:13 AM

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