Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Male Responsibility and Support of Children

I came across this in my reader feed and it got my mind churning on some things.

Most people say that when it comes to child support its supposed to be about holding men responsible for the children they help create and to make sure the children in question are cared for.

Here comes the churn.

Pedro Soto was paying support (and spending time with) for his son Aaron with no thought that the they were not biologically linked. It turned out that Aaron was actually biologically linked to Francisco Serrano, the man that the mother of the child, Maricela Guerrero, was partnered with. Now in a case like this one would think that if Pedro is not the biological father it would make sense to terminate the order for him to continue paying child support right? Wrong.
[T]he Department concedes that Francisco Serrano, not Petitioner [Pedro Soto], is the real father of Aaron Soto, but insists that due to the passage of time the injustice of Petitioner paying child support for a child that is living with, and being supported by his real father, should be extended at least another five years until Aaron reaches eighteen and finishes high school. The sheer injustice of the situation does not seem to bother the Department one bit.
So if child support orders are about making sure men are help accountable for the children they help create and making sure the child is being supported why is it that in a case when the man that's making payments is not the biological father and the biological father is known and active in the child's life the man is denied the justice of having that order terminated?

Let me focus on something specific.
...but insists that due to the passage of time the injustice of Petitioner paying child support for a child that is living with...
That's right if a man has been paying support for a child that is latter proven not to be his biological relation there is a chance that enough time will have passed that the order for support can't be terminated for reasons that amount to, "Well we know you aren't the biological father but you've been paying for so long you shouldn't be allowed to stop paying." Why should the passage of time even matter in a situation where the wrong man is being held responsible for payments and the right man is actively in the child's life (meaning that the "but its about making sure the child gets the support they need" excuse does not fly)? And even if that right man is not in the child's life why not seek him out instead of sticking with the safe bet and holding up a man who is not the one that should be held responsible? Why is there a statue of limitations on something that is dependent on evidence that can never be clouded or mistaken?

Think about it. When it comes to establishing paternity as long as that child is living there will ALWAYS be a way to tell if a given man is the biological father or not. This is a case where the DNA tells the whole tale (versus other situations like the crime of rape*). At literally any time a DNA test can be administered to know if a given man is a given child's biological father. And isn't that the whole point? Hold the biological dad responsible for the child he helped create? So why are there clauses in place that basically allow the courts to pass on holding the biological father responsible when they already have some man on the hook?

And that's one thing that really bothers me. The courts may not have caused the man to be deceived (no that mostly falls in the lap of the mother, who is often held up on a pedestal where its taboo to even question her) but they have the tools to at the very least stop a terrible injustice that is being carried out on an innocent man. Yet they actively refuse to use them. If it were about holding the biological father responsible Pedro would have been relieved of his order to continue paying support the moment he was declared to not be the biological father. But no instead it took quite a bit for him to get justice.

Basically what's happening is that instead of these laws being used to hold biological fathers responsible for the children they help create its telling men that if they can pass the buck on to another man they will be just fine and its telling women that they can pick and choose the father of their children and not worry about being held to holding the actual biological father responsible.

What do you think?

* - Let me be clear. In the case of adult against adult rape DNA alone doesn't prove guilt of the crime. At best DNA can only prove that sex happened. Rape is having sex with someone who did not or cannot consent to the act. DNA can't tell you if the act was consensual or not.


Clarissa said...

Thank you for blogging about this! I don't think I would have discovered this story otherwise. And it's an important story that needs to be discussed.

I wrote a post based on it because there are some crucial issues involved here.

Thank you for the post!

Danny said...

Anytime Clarissa. Anytime.