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Old 11-10-2006, 08:52 PM   #1
Chiteng
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Default Just for laughs

Doubting dads prompt paternity test trend

By Bobby Kerlik
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, October 9, 2006

Dr. Mark Hudson always wondered why his son didn't look like him.
"My wife and I were both in (medical) residency at the time, and we used birth control religiously," said Hudson, 44, now divorced and remarried. "I actually asked her, at the time, if this was my child. She said, 'Of course.' Most people trust their spouse."

A genetic test last year confirmed his doubts.

Hudson, an anesthesiologist from Finleyville, Washington County, said a DNA test he commissioned showed another man had fathered the 12-year-old boy. Hudson was miffed when a judge recently ordered him to continue paying $2,800 a month in child support for two children, even though he fathered just one of them.

Nationwide, thousands of men are being forced to pay support for someone else's children, according to fathers' rights groups. Doubting dads can buy a $99 DNA paternity home-test kit online to show whether a child is biologically theirs.

Court decisions increasingly take DNA testing into account in determining paternity, but that is not the only factor judges consider when deciding whether to order child support payments after a couple split up.

"DNA testing has spiked in particular in the last five to six years. Exposure to DNA testing on TV is a big part of that," said Len Stone, president of American Medical Services. He said his company sells thousands of DNA kits and most are used for paternity tests.

Courts in six Western Pennsylvania counties ordered DNA tests of about 4,500 children and adults last year to establish paternity. More than half of those tests -- 2,700 -- were ordered in Allegheny County, said Patrick Quinn, administrator of the adult section of family court.

Taxpayers pick up the $210 cost of each case, which usually includes testing for mom, dad and child. If the test confirms the man as the biological father, he is billed for the cost, Quinn said. Generally, the federal government reimburses counties for 66 percent of the cost of the test when the father is not identified.

Even when DNA tests confirm suspicions, many men such as Hudson are surprised to learn they're still financially responsible for a child not biologically theirs. Paternity is about more than who provides the DNA, legal experts say.

Pennsylvania's court rulings largely depend on the individual situation, said Dan Richard, director of the state Bureau of Child Support.

"The laws on the books now were developed when DNA testing did not exist," Richard said. "I realize there are those who say we should rely 100 percent on genetic testing. But you just can't take a father away. You have to balance the science vs. the children."

Child advocate groups, such as the National Center for Youth Law, based in Oakland, Calif., say paternity laws that allow fathers to walk out of children's lives are not in the best interest of the youngsters.

"In the end, this is about kids. These days, biology is not and should not be the primary factor in determining who the father is," said Curt Child, a senior attorney with the center. "Of equal importance should be the best interests of the child.

"For an individual to come back years later and say, 'I was duped. I'm not the father,' will have a significant impact on the child."

Child said a man who is unsure he is the biological father should challenge paternity when a child is born. Waiting risks having the child grow dependent on the man's emotional and financial support.

Generally, Pennsylvania courts determine paternity based on the relationship between father and child, the child's age and whether a marriage and family are intact, Richard said. Courts consider how long a man knew he was not the biological father before challenging paternity in court.

Courts have ruled that if a man acts as the child's father, he can be held financially responsible for the child, said Downtown-based family law attorney Lisa Marie Vari.

"It's really the (woman) who had the relationship, and it's not fair to fraudulently hold a man responsible for this obligation," Vari said. "You have to balance that against the emotional needs of a child."

That was part of the reasoning used by Allegheny County Judge Kathleen Mulligan, who ruled that Hudson must continue paying child support for both children conceived during his 11-year marriage, including one who private DNA testing showed was not his.

In an opinion issued Friday, Mulligan wrote, "It is recognized that damage may already have been done in this case because (Hudson's son) may well be aware of his father's position. However, the policy question remains as to whether the law should encourage parties to challenge the paternity of 12-year-old children whom they have raised all of their lives.

"While one may have little sympathy for the mother under these circumstances, (the son) should not be punished."

Hudson's ex-wife, Nicolette Chiesa, said in court papers that Hudson acted as the boy's father throughout the child's life and should not change that stance. She and Hudson were married in May 1989 and divorced in October 2000. They had a daughter during their marriage, and the two children should be treated equally, Chiesa's court documents state. Chiesa's lawyer declined comment.

Hudson is appealing to state Superior Court. He said he would like to continue a relationship with his son, but has not seen him for more than a year because of legal and custody conflicts.

"I still feel like he's my son. But I think it's wrong to enrich the person who committed the fraud," Mark Hudson said. "The child deserves the truth."

Pennsylvania paternity rulings

While DNA testing can determine whether a man is the biological father of a child, Pennsylvania courts have returned mixed rulings on whether he is responsible for support payments after he and the mother split up. When the child and presumed father have bonded and the man has acknowledged being the father, the man can be required to pay support. However, Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled that men no longer had to make support payments in at least two cases involving DNA testing:

• In 2003, Superior Court upheld a Luzerne County judge's ruling that eliminated support payments by William Doran, who used DNA results to exclude himself as the father of a child conceived during his marriage. The child was 11 when Doran learned he was not the father, according to court documents.

• In February, Superior Court said an Erie County judge incorrectly ordered Gregory Gatti to continue paying support for a toddler who was not biologically his. The couple were never married. The child was 18 months old when Gatti learned through DNA testing that another man was the father. The Erie County judge said Gatti should pay support, noting that Gatti had acted as the father and claimed the child as a dependent on tax returns. Superior Court judges overturned that ruling, saying the mother tricked Gatti into believing he was the father.

Courts in a six Western Pennsylvania counties -- Allegheny, Westmoreland, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler and Washington -- ordered DNA tests of about 4,500 children and adults last year to establish paternity.

*****************************************************

So what is the collective wisdom on this issue, I dare you all to give voice.
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Old 11-10-2006, 09:12 PM   #2
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Well you titled this 'Just for Laughs', then asked for collective wisdom, so I'm not sure what you're looking for.

I don't think that fathers should be held responsible for providing for or raising a child that isn't biologically theirs. If the mother can't or won't properly identify the father of the child so that he can be held responsible, she ought to be responsible for it herself.
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Old 11-11-2006, 08:13 AM   #3
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Your not a liberal then Brig because all good liberals know that the government should provide housing, food and clothes and a car.
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Old 11-11-2006, 11:09 AM   #4
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...and an IPod...all the necessities...
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Old 11-11-2006, 08:31 PM   #5
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it is interesting that none of you are actually willing to say anything about the
situation.
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Old 11-11-2006, 08:53 PM   #6
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I said I didn't think it was fair. What else were you looking for?
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Old 11-11-2006, 10:42 PM   #7
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He wants you to say, please great Chiteng, show us the path to true rightesnous.

You dink, when you title a thread just for laughs, then expect a serious answer, don't be such a tard about it when you don't get one.

For the record I am with Brig.
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Old 11-11-2006, 11:18 PM   #8
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Im trying to figure out what the point is here?

DO you think that men should pay for kids that arent theirs or dont you? you say that we are afraid to answer yet you do not answer, you dare US to answer BUT you do not give an opinion......go figure Im just surprised noone called you on it, I must be the only one paying attention or they just know that you will sidestep the question with a typical I dared you to answer it first reply.

Point blank its BS, if a woman is found to have had another mans baby and tricked a man into believing the kid was his she should have to pay the man in question restitution.
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Old 11-11-2006, 11:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by the article
Taxpayers pick up the $210 cost of each case, which usually includes testing for mom, dad and child. If the test confirms the man as the biological father, he is billed for the cost, Quinn said. Generally, the federal government reimburses counties for 66 percent of the cost of the test when the father is not identified.
Maybe this is what he's talking about? I don't see any mention of illegal immigrants, Iran, or Bush, so that pretty much leaves taxes.
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Old 11-11-2006, 11:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Chiteng
it is interesting that none of you are actually willing to say anything about the
situation.
and it is interesting that you are not actually willing to say anything about the
situation either
so very
interesting
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Old 11-11-2006, 11:33 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Tuan00Dorf
and it is interesting that you are not actually willing to say anything about the
situation either
so very
interesting
I am waiting. But those that truely know me can guess.
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Old 11-11-2006, 11:47 PM   #12
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I guess I pretty much hit what your comment would be on the head.
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Old 11-12-2006, 12:16 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Chiteng
I am waiting. But those that truely know me can guess.
Uh, no. If that's how you're going to be, you can just keep waiting. I'm not interested in playing your games.
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Old 11-12-2006, 02:56 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Chiteng
I am waiting. But those that truely know me can guess.
Sorry, left my tarot cards in my other pants.


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Old 11-12-2006, 07:06 AM   #15
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Who cares about what Chit thinks about this... personally I dont.

"In the end, this is about kids. These days, biology is not and should not be the primary factor in determining who the father is," said Curt Child, a senior attorney with the center. "Of equal importance should be the best interests of the child.

"For an individual to come back years later and say, 'I was duped. I'm not the father,' will have a significant impact on the child."

IMO, I am truly sorry if any child suffers... But we should not trump the law, rights, right and wrong..just so a child doesnt "suffer". That is the position of this advocacy group. All be damned and all rights be damned if a child suffers[financially].
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Old 11-12-2006, 07:18 AM   #16
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There are two issues:

The wellfare of the child, and the deceit of the mother.
According to Cosmopolitan, the unfathered children may be as high as 1/3.
Personally I cant see that.

So to me, justice must be visted upon the mother.

The children are extraneous to the issue.

I doubt any man who was a father for 12 years can simply get up and abandon the role. You have a relationship with the child.
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Old 11-12-2006, 08:39 AM   #17
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Not a matter of abandonment, IF ITS NOT YOURS YOUR NOT RESPONSIBLE, the mother should be held liable to pay the man back all of the expenses of the 12 years of living with her.

Has nothing to do with whether or not the man wants a relationship or not, if he does fine IF he doesnt fine, but the simple fact is we cannot start making people pay for other peoples mistakes just because they trusted some woman who turns out to be a worthless cheating liar.

Find the real father make him pay.
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Old 11-12-2006, 03:43 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Chiteng
I doubt any man who was a father for 12 years can simply get up and abandon the role. You have a relationship with the child.
I'd rather that a 'father' choose to be a father, in that scenario, than to be forced to by the courts.

Let's face it. When Mom's indiscretion is discovered, there are going to be problems in that family. The courts aren't going to protect the kids from that kind of upheaval. They can't. They can force Dad to pay child support, but they can't force him to be a good father. That has to come from within.

Is it fair to force him to be a provider? I don't think so.

Originally Posted by Axgar
the mother should be held liable to pay the man back all of the expenses of the 12 years of living with her.
I think that's a bit extreme. Yes, she was duplicitous. Yes, it's wrong. But all living expenses?
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Old 11-12-2006, 10:42 PM   #19
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Well ok its a little extreme but I just hate seeing people THINK that they deserve something for nothing OR people that steal from others and in cases like this I personally think the woman is a thief, she stole 12 years of a mans life, she stole 12 years of a kids life, she stole 12 years of a fathers life......... shes a bitch.
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Old 11-12-2006, 10:44 PM   #20
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Could always award the kids to the father
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Old 11-12-2006, 10:50 PM   #21
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which father?

You see Chit everything is cut and dried for you sometimes when it shouldnt be and vice versa when it should, in this case there is another party out there being hurt, sure he may not know this but does that make it right? I mean if Ed McMahon (sp) comes and gives me a check written to you for 10 million and you don't know about it and I somehow get it cashed is that ok?
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Old 11-12-2006, 11:04 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Chiteng
Could always award the kids to the father
Just as long as the women gets paid back for tricking the man, right?
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Old 11-13-2006, 05:15 AM   #23
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I'd seen a similar but different article in the business section of the Houston Chronicle a few weeks back - guy tries to use DNA results of paternity test to avoid child support, but the judge basically says "Too late, it's your kid now".

As the article points out, ruling are pretty inconsistent.

If anything, I'm surprised this isn't a more common issue that comes. You'd think that this would be something worth addressing, but I guess everyone's too worried about gay marriage by strangers in a different state being a threat to their marriage, rather than minor things like adultery & children.

From a cynical view, no political party really has anything to gain from changing the present system. If more paternity testing is done, I suspect you'll see a rise in divorces & abortions & family abandonment and a decrease in child support.

It might be more "fair", but when it comes to children, society pretty much tends to choose them over fairness anytime. Kids are univerally cute & sympathetic. Adults aren't. Embroyos aren't. Just the way it goes. Be grateful a political party hasn't learned how to use puppies & kittens as a wedge issue yet.

As Briigid points out, the courts aren't going to solve these sorts of problems.
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Old 11-13-2006, 09:18 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Brigiid
Just as long as the women gets paid back for tricking the man, right?
I would demand justice, if that is what you are asking.
The option to tell the truth always existed.
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Old 11-13-2006, 09:51 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Chiteng
I would demand justice
Uh-oh. Get out another nuke. Chiteng demands justice.
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