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Defacto and Lokoparentis… DNA

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Paternity Matters: The Best Parent is Both Parents

paternity-matters.doc

It’s all about the money, not the bond.Anty Melany Jacobs

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Let’s Talk About Paternity Fraud

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get on…

get-on-there-and-read-all-about-dr-cannold.doc

That’s the one of comments which I found.

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Measuring PD and its public healt consequences

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No Man Can Count On Justice In Family Court, Argues An Angry Professor

The Fix Is In
No Man Can Count On Justice In Family Court, Argues An Angry Professor
By Stephen Baskerville

     Trevor Gallahan’s father is going to jail. He has not been charged with any crime. He is not behind in child support. He has not battered anyone. Yet Ken Gallahan could conceivably remain in jail for the rest of his life. What is his infraction? He does not have $15,000 to pay a lawyer he never hired. He was already jailed indefinitely when he could not pay a psychotherapist he also had not hired and was released only when his mother paid the fees.
     Debtors’ prisons were theoretically abolished long ago, but this does not stop family court judges from using the bench to shake down fathers who have done nothing wrong and funnel everything they have into the pockets of the court’s cronies. In fact the looting and criminalization of fathers like Ken Gallahan is now routine in divorce courts.
     Family courts are the arm of the state that routinely reaches farthest into the private lives of individuals and families, yet they are answerable to virtually no one. By their own assessment, according to Robert W. Page of the New Jersey Family Court, “the power of family court judges is almost unlimited.” Others have commented on their vast and intrusive powers less charitably. Malcolm X once called family courts “modern slavery,” and former Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas termed them “kangaroo” courts. One father was told by a judicial investigator in New Jersey, “The provisions of the US Constitution do not apply in domestic relations cases, since they are determined in a court of equity rather than a court of law.”
     The plunder of fathers invariably begins with the taking of their children. Despite formal legal equality between parents, some 85-90% of custody awards go to mothers. This is despite the fact that it is usually the mother who seeks the divorce, and most often without grounds of wrongdoing by the father. In fact a mother can have a half-dozen previous divorces, she can commit adultery, she can level false charges, she can assault the father, in some cases she can even abuse the children, and none of these (except in extreme cases the last) has any bearing on a custody decision.
     A mother who consults a divorce attorney today will be advised that her best strategy is simply to take the children and their effects and leave without warning. If she has no place to go, she will be told that by accusing the father of sexual or physical abuse (or even simply stating that she is “in fear”) she can obtain a restraining order immediately forcing him out of the family home, often without so much as a hearing. She will also learn that not only can she not be punished for either of these actions, they cannot even be used against her in a custody decision. In fact they work so strongly in her favor that failure to apprise a female client of these options may be considered legal malpractice.
     Mothers who abduct children and keep them from their fathers are routinely rewarded with immediate “temporary” custody. In fact this is almost never temporary. Once she has custody it cannot be changed without a lengthy and expensive court battle. The sooner and the longer she can establish herself as the sole caretaker the more difficult and costly it is to dislodge her. The more she cuts the children off from the father, alienates them from the father, slings false charges, and delays the proceedings, the more she makes the path of least resistance (and highest earnings) to leave her with sole custody. In short, the more belligerence she displays and the more litigation she creates, the more grateful the courts will be for the business she provides.
     For a father the simple fact of his being a father is enough for him to be summoned to court, stripped of all decision-making rights over his children, ordered to stay away from them six days out of seven, and ordered to make child support payments that may amount to two-thirds or more of his income. Like Ken Gallahan, he can also be forced to pay almost any amount to lawyers and psychotherapists and summarily jailed if he is unwilling or unable.
     What is happening to fathers in divorce courts is much more serious than unfair gender bias. An iron triangle of lawyers, judges, and women’s groups is finding it increasingly easy – and lucrative – to simply throw fathers out of their families with no show of wrongdoing whatever and seize control of their children and everything they have. Family courts have in effect declared to the mothers of America: If you file for divorce we can take everything your husband has and divide it among ourselves, with the bulk of it going to you. We can take his children, his home, his income, his savings, and his inheritance and reduce him to beggary. And if he raises any objection we can throw him in jail without trial.
     The astounding fact is that, with the exception of convicted criminals, no group today has fewer rights than fathers. Even accused criminals have the right to due process of law, to know the charges against them, to face their accusers, to a lawyer, and to a trial. A father can be deprived of his children, his home, his savings, his livelihood, his privacy, and his freedom without any of these constitutional protections. And not only a divorced father or a unmarried father: Any father at any time can find himself in court and in jail. Once a man has a child he forfeits his most important constitutional rights.
     The words “divorce” and “custody” have become deceptively innocuous-sounding terms. We should remind ourselves that they involve bringing the coercive apparatus of the state – police, courts, and jails – into the home for use against family members. When we recall that those family members may not even be charged with any legal wrongdoing we can begin to grasp the full horror of what is taking place and how far the divorce machinery has been fashioned into an instrument of terror. As citizens of communist Eastern Europe once did, it is now fathers who live in fear of the “knock on the door.”
     So what can a father do to escape the fate of Ken Gallahan and millions like him? Very little, and divorce manuals encouraging fathers with advice on how to win custody are not doing them any favors. The latest wisdom informs fathers that the game is so rigged that their best hope of keeping their children is not to wait for their day in court but to adopt the techniques of mothers: If you think she is about to snatch, snatch first. “If you do not take action,” writes author Robert Seidenberg, “your wife will. If this advice is sound, the custody industry has turned marriage into a “race to the trigger,” to adopt the terms of nuclear deterrence replete with the pre-emptive strike: Whoever snatches first survives.
     If you don’t have the stomach for this, then you probably should not marry and not have children.

Stephen Baskerville is a professor of Political Science at Howard University.

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WHEN IS A PARENT NOT A PARENT

when-is-a-parent-not-a-parent.doc

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Child Support by Nonbiological Fathers

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Paternity Fraud – USA Today

USA Today published this article: “An acid sense of betrayal has been gnawing at Damon Adams since a DNA test showed that he is not the father of a 10-year-old girl born during his former marriage. “Something changes in your heart,” says Adams, 51, a dentist in
Traverse City, Mich. “When she walks through the door, you’re seeing the product of an affair.”
But
Michigan courts have spurned the DNA results
Adams offered in his motions to stop paying $23,000 a year in child support. Now,
Adams is lobbying the state Legislature for relief and joining other men in a national movement against what they call “paternity fraud.”
In almost a dozen states, men have won the right to use conclusive genetic tests to end their financial obligations to children they didn’t father. But women’s groups and many public officials responsible for enforcing child support are battling the movement, which they say imperils children.Most states design their family laws to protect what they call “the interests of the child.” That means siding with the child’s financial and emotional needs and against supposed fathers who want to avoid paying for tricycles and braces.Taxpayers also have a big stake in child support collections, which have grown to$18 billion annually and cover 20 million children. If men who are paying child support no longer have to and authorities can’t find the real fathers, welfare agencies will get the bill for family assistance.Many men who feel deceived by a woman are in no mood to accept a legal system that doesn’t recognize DNA science in such cases. “It’s like they are saying, ‘Let your wife cheat on you, have children by other men, divorce you, and now you have to pay for it all,’ ” says Air Force Master Sgt. Raymond Jackson, 43.
California judges won’t consider tests he says prove that the three children of his former 10-year marriage were fathered by other men.
Fraud, mistakesThere are signs of substantial fraud or mistakes in identifying fathers in child support disputes. The American Association of Blood Banks says the 300,626 paternity tests it conducted on men in 2000 ruled out nearly 30% as the father.The legal doctrines raising barriers to DNA testing on paternity questions are formidable. In 30 states, married men face a 500-year-old legal presumption that any child born during a marriage is the husband’s. The concept, based in English law, is aimed at preventing children from being branded illegitimate.
Nebraska‘s Supreme Court ruled last week that an ex-husband who is not a child’s father cannot sue the mother to recover child support payments.
The law is more flexible for men who admit to fathering a child out of wedlock but then change their minds or who are named by the mother. But they have only brief opportunities to deny paternity.
Florida allows a year after a child support order,
California two years after a birth.
Many unwed fathers paying child support have never admitted paternity. A 1996 federal welfare law requires a woman to name a father — no questions asked — when she applies for public assistance. A court summons can be mailed to the man’s last known address. Many men don’t get the notice. The result: The paychecks of 527,224 men in
California, for example, are being docked under “default” judgments of paternity that can’t be contested after six months.
Men who urge use of DNA cite a precedent: DNA’s increasing impact in murder and rape cases.“Think of it. I can get out of jail for murder based on DNA evidence, but I can’t get out of child support payments,” says Bert Riddick, 42, a computing teacher in
Carson, Calif.
Riddick is paying $1,400 a month for a teenage girl born out of wedlock whom he’s never met. Strapped, he and his wife are living with in-laws. Their three children, ages 3 to 11, cram into one room. He lost his driver’s license for missing support payments and rides a bus 75 minutes to work.Gradually, legislators are reshaping paternity law.
Alabama,
Arkansas,
Georgia,
Iowa,
Ohio and
Virginia now permit ex-husbands and out-of-wedlock fathers to end child support through DNA.
Maryland has made the same change via court decisions.

Colorado,
Illinois and
Louisiana grant relief only to ex-husbands, allowing them to offer genetic proof.
Texas allows ex-husbands four years from a birth to disprove paternity and gives unwed fathers unlimited time. A sweeping bill that would authorize married and unmarried fathers to offer DNA evidence is working its way through the New Jersey State Assembly.
Carnell Smith, 41, an engineer in Decatur, Ga., who was getting nowhere in challenging a support decree, started a group called U.S. Citizens Against Paternity Fraud that lobbied for the law Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes signed in May. The slogan on the Web site of Smith’s group (www.paternityfraud.com): “If the genes don’t fit, you must acquit.” Smith is back in court and says, “I fully intend to be one of the first people to be released.”Pending in
Vermont is the toughest bill of all. It would make a mother’s knowingly false allegation of fatherhood a felony that could put her behind bars for up to two years and fine her up to $5,000. “A woman almost always knows who the father is, and if she puts down the wrong person knowingly and it’s costing him money, it’s just plain fraud,” says state Rep. Leo Valliere, a Republican, the bill’s sponsor.
Men’s rights groups aren’t advancing everywhere. California Gov. Gray Davis vetoed a bill in September that was opposed by women’s organizations. It would have given men two years after discovering they weren’t the father to produce the DNA evidence to prove it.
Florida paternity fraud bills died this year. A package of bills passed the Michigan House 102-0 but is stalled in the Senate.
‘Dump the child’Some analysts say laws need revising but DNA shouldn’t be decisive. “Some people want to dump the child and say biology is all that matters, not relationships,” says Jack Sampson, a law professor at the University of Texas-Austin. Carol Sanger, a family law professor at Columbia
University in
New York, says the law should be more generous to men who may not even know a child than to dads who have been living with the kids they didn’t father.
“Families are more complicated than who’s biologically related to whom,” says Valerie Ackerman, staff director for the National
Center for Youth Law in
Oakland. “If there has been a relationship between a father and child, the man can’t just abdicate the responsibility that he’s taken on.”
Supporters of current law say the interests of the child should trump a man’s concern for his wallet. “The other guy is somewhere over the hill and long gone,” says Jenny Skoble, an attorney at the Harriet
Buhai
Center for Family Law in
Los Angeles. “If it comes down to whether the only (available) father is going to be on the hook to pay money or this kid is going to be in the situation of having no father, I’d say we have to put the child first.”Men who want relief say it’s a matter of equity. “DNA equals truth,” says Patrick McCarthy, 41, a Hillsborough, N.J., package courier. After paying for 13 years to support a girl he denies fathering, McCarthy co-founded New Jersey Citizens Against Paternity Fraud. The group has put up nine billboards supporting the pending bill in
New Jersey. The ads depict a pregnant woman and ask, “Is it yours? If not, you still have to pay!”
“Obviously, there’s more to fatherhood than genes,” McCarthy acknowledges. “However, to pay support on a non-biological offspring should be an individual choice, not ordered by the courts.”
Adams says he’s willing to directly aid the child he’d thought was his but doesn’t want to give his ex-wife any more cash.
Trouble could be minimized if all children were DNA-tested at birth or at the time of divorce, says Geraldine Jensen, president of the Association for Children for Enforcement of Support. She says maternity wards should distribute pamphlets telling men, “Get tested now if you have any questions, because doing it later will disrupt this child’s life.”

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Australian Supreme Court-Great Thinkers or….

Paternity fraud case lost

Norrie RossNovember 10, 2006 12:00am A MAN who supported two children he wrongly believed he had fathered has lost his final legal bid to prove he was a victim of paternity fraud.Liam Magill was devastated yesterday when the High Court ruled he had no legal basis to claim compensation from his ex-wife. Mr Magill was originally awarded $70,000 from his former spouse Meredith after a DNA test proved he was not the biological father of two of their three children. However  the Court of Appeal stripped him of the compensation award. In refusing his appeal against that decision, six High Court judges said there was no legal duty in a marriage to tell the truth. The loss has left Mr Magill with a huge legal bill that the disability pensioner will be unable to pay. Outside the High Court in Melbourne, Mr Magill, 55, looked stunned. He thanked his lawyers and the public for supporting him through his seven-year legal battle. His partner, Cheryl King, said the court marathon had taken its toll and they were both very disappointed. Ms King said Mr Magill had to accept he would get no compensation and that child support payments for two children he did not father would never be refunded. “Emotionally it destroyed him when he found out these two children had been fathered by another man,” Ms King said. “Liam is just devastated, and this loss is another blow to him. “He has no acknowledgment of any description of what happened. Not from the Child Support Agency, who refused him a refund of child support payments, or the High Court that refused him compensation.” The Magills married in 1988, separated in 1992 and divorced in 1998. They had two sons and a daughter but a paternity test in 2000 proved he did not father the two younger children. Meredith Magill later admitted having had an affair with another man. Three members of the High Court held there was no legal action for deceit when it came to representations about paternity made between spouses. Three other judges held that only in exceptional cases could such an action succeed and Mr Magill’s was not one such case. Chief Justice Murray Gleeson said Mr Magill assumed he was the father of the two children and his wife’s silence on the issue did not amount to misrepresentation. “Without doubt the appellant’s wife deceived him but the hurtful deception was in her infidelity, not in her failure to admit it,” Justice Murray said. Mr Magill’s lawyer, Vivien Mavropoulos, said the case had highlighted fundamental social issues. “They are the importance of truth in relationships and marriage, a child’s identity, heritage and parentage, and the responsibilities that go with that,” Ms Mavropoulos said. She urged courts, Parliament and society to tackle the issues raised in the case. 

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