Is this happening in your state?
Moberly, MO - When a woman tells a man that he is the father, and he believes it, taking on that role for the child, should she later be allowed to retract that claim? This was a question that was addressed this week in a Randolph County (MO) courtroom. On April 30th (2012), Judge Mason Gebharbt, of Randolph County (MO) District Court, ruled that due to the 2008 infidelity of a woman, the resulting child will be punished by denying the nearly 4-year-old child any legal rights to see the only father she has ever known.
A Father's Story
Jamies Palmer (age 31) met Vicky Clark in 2006. They dated for a year when she became pregnant. Not wishing to have a child born outside wedlock, they married in 2008, with the child being born soon after, and Jamies signing the birth certificate as the father.
Time goes by, but infidelity on the part of Vicky Palmer results in a separation in March of 2011, with Jamies subsequently filing three months later in Randolph County for divorce and custody of the child.
As the final hearing before Judge Mason Gebharbt approaches in January of this year, the mother filed a petition with a different judge (Judge Cynthia Suter) to determine paternity. This was an effort to counter the custody claim by Jamies Palmer, by proving that he was not the father of the child.
Jamies refused to take the paternity test, so instead the potential father was served, and later determined, to be the father. Because of this determination, on April 30, Judge Gebharbt made a ruling that in point of fact, Jamies Palmer was not the father of the soon to be 4-year-old girl, and as such, could not have "court ordered" custody, and the child, did not have a right to see the only father she knew and loved.
This child, like many other children before, and many to come, is the silent victims of the growing problem of paternity fraud in our society.
According to Cindy Faulkner, President of Dads House Educational Center & Groups:
Access to a non-biological child by a physiological parent (someone acting in for all purposes the position of a parent) should be based on the best interest of the child and not on pure biology. This needs to be discussed and addressed in the Halls of Power before we have a generation of children completely disillusioned with what a parent is.
Who's The Daddy?
Reports from DNA testing labs show that over 30% of paternity tests are now returning with negative results, meaning the mother has no clear idea of who the father is.
Missouri, along with 30 other states have passed laws to address the financial aspects of men, with no emotional or physical relationship with the child that is not their biological child, continuing to be required to pay support. However, these laws do not address the emotional damage done to the children in cases like that involving the child of Jamies Palmer. The question that needs to be addressed is whether those children should be punished for the indiscretions of the mother.
Is it not time to open a public debate on this issue and what needs to be done to address it so that judges are not being put into a Solomon type position in deciding how best to decide on these cases?
Consider the other side of this issue. A woman is unable to conceive, so she makes use of "In Vitro Fertilization" by having a "donated egg" fertilized by her husband semen, implant so that she can have a child. If later, that couple were to divorce, would she than not have any parental rights to the child, because she is not the maternal parent?
A short video on Paternity testing. Anyone who may be unsure about paternity can now get a quick and easy paternity test.
Under Missouri law (453.400), a stepparent can still be required to pay child support, but this will not be an issue for Jamies Palmer, as he is disable and collecting SSI from kidney failure.
As such, a secondary benefit of this action by the mother is that she can now file to receive child support, retroactively back to the birth of the child, on the alleged bio-dad. This even though the child was raised and supported by the man who thought he was the father.
The estimated return of this action, based on an average gross income for long haul truck drivers of $66,000 a year, would be an award of $43,000 in arrears. In addition, Missouri will be able to collect an initial amount of $10,000 in interest penalties on the initial order, plus $8000 in federal matching funds, under the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1988.
Starting in 2013, they can collect 5% in annual interest penalties on any arrears still owed, plus 15% annually in federal matching funds on the payments, plus the arrears. Under standard child support arrangements when there are arrears to be paid, it will take approximately 96 months to pay off just the principal amount, leaving him with an amount still owing of over $9000 to the state, in addition to over $34,000 collected in federal matching funds, for a total take on this one claim of over $53,000.
The Paternity Fraud issue is growing daily. There are two sides to this issue:
- The cases like Jamies Palmer, wanting to remain a part of his child's life; and
- The cases of men being required to support children that are not theirs, and that they have no connection to.
Many of our Vets are returning from active duty to learn they have a "default child support order" on them from a woman with whom they never had relations.
Shouldn't our government be protecting our returning Vets from this type of fraud?