Friday, July 13, 2007

Man Required to Pay Support For Child Who Isn't His

A Florida man is being forced by the state to pay child support for a 15 year old girl who isn't his.

In 1990, Francisco Rodriguez had a relationship for a few months with a girl when they both were teens. After they broke off their relationship, he didn't hear from her again until 2003 when papers were served on him for child support, naming him as the father.

Now, he has the results of a DNA test showing he is not the father, and even has obtained an affidavit from the mother saying that he isn't the father and should no longer be required to pay support.

Despite this proof, Florida is requiring him to pay $305 a month in support, plus ten thousand dollars in back support. He's even spent a night in jail for delinquent payments.

The reason for the state's obdurate stance?

Florida has a law which mandates a sixty day deadline for a man to contest paternity, which is totally ludicrous in my book. In Rodriguez' case, a court had already named him the father three years before he got the papers, when he did not respond to notices to appear in court. Rodriguez never received the notices because of several changes of address.

As far as I'm concerned, there should never be a deadline to contest paternity. If a man is proven not to be the father at any time past this deadline, he's NOT THE FATHER, period. This "somebody's got to pay" mindset that isn't particular on who that "somebody" is, just as long as money is being paid, is a clear violation of men's rights. In this case, Rodriguez had never lived with the woman, never married her, or even knew of the girl's existence. While the girl deserves to be supported and is an innocent victim in this case, neither should a man who had nothing to do with her conception or raising be compelled to take responsibility for it.

In other similar cases, men have paid child support and have later discovered that the children aren't theirs. Usually, they are released from this responsibility, but are disqualified from being refunded any of the money they've already paid.

What is the solution? Carnell Smith, representing a group called U.S. Citizens Against Paternity Fraud, suggests that mandatory DNA tests be performed when a child is born that would immediately establish paternity and would eliminate lengthy legal battles.

Works for me.


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