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Paternity Fraud

Law lets men who can disprove paternity with DNA test end child support 

BY CHARLEY GILLESPIE Associated Press Writer 

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- 

A state law taking effect Friday allows a man to sue to end his child support payments if genetic testing proves he is not the father. ``

Ohio no longer rewards mothers who lie about who the father of their baby is,'' said Rep. Peter Lawson Jones, the Shaker Heights Democrat who sponsored the bill.

Like most states, Ohio had relied on a 500-year-old English common-law doctrine presuming a man is the legal father of any child born to his wife during their marriage. The law was designed to protect children because in medieval England a child shown to be illegitimate would have virtually no rights.

Opponents of the change argued that judges still should have the ability to protect the child's interests by maintaining a child support obligation even if a DNA test disproved paternity.

Franklin County Domestic Relations Judge Yvette McGee-Brown said Ohio's old law was better because it allowed only a year for men to challenge paternity. She said there should be some burden to make the father come forward in a reasonable time.

``The longer a man delays the harder it will be to find the real father,'' she said.

Proponents of the new law included men who missed the one-year deadline because they were misled into believing they were fathers of their ex-wives' children. They can now ask a court to stop support payments and waive arrears. The law also leaves the door open for a man to sue a mother for back payments of child support.

Dennis Caron, 44, of Powell, testified before a Senate committee in support of Jones' bill. Caron got a DNA test after his divorce that he said proved he wasn't the father of a boy he thought was his son. He sued to end paying child support after his ex-wife cut off his contact with the child, but a judge refused to lift his obligation and jailed him for contempt.

After an eight-year legal battle, Caron is now suing his ex-wife for fraud in an attempt to collect over $100,000 in past support payments and legal expenses.

After an eight-year legal battle, Caron is now suing his ex-wife for fraud in an attempt to collect over $100,000 in past support payments and legal expenses.

Geraldine Jensen, president of the Association for Children for Enforcement of Support, says Ohio's law has finally caught up with science.

``We have women that are separated but not divorced who become pregnant by another man during the separation,'' she said. ``Under the old law the court was bound to list the man she was still married to as the child's father.''

Opponents say the new law will disrupt children's lives and ruin families financially. Officials said it also will cost the government an undetermined amount of money to pay for DNA tests and legal work involved in welfare cases, in which county agencies rely on child support as reimbursement.

``The deception causes more disruption in the long run,'' Jones argued.

The Legislative Budget Office, while acknowledging the lack of precise records, predicts that fewer than 1,000 men will successfully challenge support orders each year in Ohio under the law.

Many states have policies like one in California to forbid ``inquiries into the child's paternity that would be destructive of family integrity and privacy.''

McGee-Brown says she is haunted by a case in her courtroom where a 12-year-old found out he wasn't the son of the man he thought was his father.

``It was very traumatic for him and the other children in the family,'' she said.

Licking County Domestic Relations Judge Russ Steiner remembers a man who learned from a DNA test that he was paying child support for an 8-year-old boy he had not fathered. When the mother brought the boy for visitation, the man said, ``Take that kid back home with you. He is not mine.''

Steiner said he ordered the man to pay what had been child support into a trust fund for the child's psychological counseling.

Note:  Many men willingly accept a child they know are not their own and raise that child as if they were there own.  Few would ever know that the child was not the father's  and the father's are real dads  to the child but should not they have the "choice"  Should not they know that the child is not theirs?  To make the man think that the child is his while knowing he/she is not is fraud.   Normally I would say that they should have waiting until after marriage but many of these men ARE married to the mother but they are not the father.    Again if each person follows Biblical principals  we will not have this problem.  Once again, it is our children that suffer the most, the man next and the woman often is not held accountable for her actions.  


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