Here is a Saturday morning question for you. What happens when a couple divorces and the father finds out he is not the biological father to a child. Should he be responsible for child support?
According to a recent 7–0 ruling by the Florida State Supreme Court, the answer is yes. They ruled that he father did not appeal the paternity in time so he is liable for child support to the tune of 200,000 dollars. Even if he is not the biological father.
Which raises and interesting question. Are the rights of mothers and children so much greater than fathers rights to not be lied to and decieved? Now I do not want children being left without support, but if the wife is going to lie and cheat on a husband is he obligated to be the responsible party? And is the precedent set that the minute a divorce is applied for will fathers immediately have to race and get paternity tests to prove who the father is?
“We find that the balance of policy considerations favors protecting the best interests of the child over protecting the interests of one parent defrauded by the other parent in the midst of a divorce proceeding,” writes Justice Kenneth Bell for the court.
“We recognize that the former husband in this case may feel victimized,” he writes. He then quotes a scholar to explain the ruling: “While some individuals are innocent victims of deceptive partners, adults are aware of the high incidence of infidelity and only they, not the children, are able to act to ensure that the biological ties they may deem essential are present.”
In effect, the high court is saying it’s partly Parker’s fault for trusting his wife.
The Parker case illustrates an increasingly contentious debate over the rights and responsibilities of divorced fathers who have been duped and don’t challenge paternity at or near the time of divorce. But it also raises fundamental questions about the nature of fatherhood and the legal responsibilities that can attach to a father-child relationship – even when that relationship is the result of fraud and deception by a wife and mother. via csmonitor.com.