Paternity Fraud

As a newly married guy, I figured it was time to redo some legal stuff… will, medical power of attorney, etc. At some point in the process, you always think about children. I have none, but I remembered a conversation I had with some friends a few months back on paternity fraud. From an article on Paternity Fraud.

According to a recent study in New Hampshire, as many as 30 percent of those paying child support are not the biological fathers of the children being supported.

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Michigan State University Law Professor Melanie Jacobs cautions states about passing new paternity-fraud laws, arguing children could get hurt in the long run.

“I think the problem with those laws is that, No. 1, they need to consider a child’s best interest. I’m not trying to minimize the trauma to the nonbiological father, his feeling of betrayal,” Jacobs said.

“But I can only imagine how traumatic it is for the child who learns that someone is not their father, and suddenly that father goes to court and says not only do I not want to pay for this child’s [upbringing], I want to legally be declared the nonfather,” Jacobs added.

Basically, it seems that in many cases, if its considered in the best interest of the child, a man who was fraudulently fooled into thinking he was the child’s father is forced to continue paying child support even when he has evidence that he is not the father. In most cases, the “father” has no custody and no “rights” to see the child. In some (many?) cases, the father has never even met the child. In a few cases, the father has never even met the mother of the child. Which leads me to a few questions:

1. Wouldn’t it be even more in the best interest of the child to force Bill Gates to pay child support? I don’t see how Bill Gates should have any less obligation than any other random dude that isn’t the child’s father, and surely Bill could afford it more than most.

2. How is a judge forcing someone to pay child support on a child that isn’t his and who he will never meet any different from a judge forcing someone to make the car payments or mortgage for a randomly selected random stranger?

3. If I had to guess, the numbers are higher in the US than in places like Europe that candidates like Mitt Romney point to as being morally decadent. Anyone have anything that look like real figures?