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Man didn't father child, but won't get child support back

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Evil ... Thy name is Orville Redenbacher!!, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. I feel bad this guy.

    Man learns he didn't father child, but he won't get child support back
    Story Highlights

    TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) -- A man cannot recoup child support payments he made for a son he later found out was not his own, the state Supreme Court has ruled, overturning lower courts' decisions.

    In its unanimous ruling, the justices ruled that the man, identified only as Roy in the lawsuit, was not entitled to payments he made since his 1980 divorce because state law required such a challenge to be filed before the child turned 23 years old.

    The court ruled that even though the man found out only long after his son turned 23 that he was not the father, it wasn't enough to force the biological father, identified as Patrick, to pay child support.

    "This is a sad, heartbreaking case of a man who learned that an essential truth had been withheld from him for thirty years," wrote Justice Barry Albin. But the court thought that lawmakers envisioned such a scenario when creating the Parentage Act.

    "The Legislature evidently knew what has been known since time immemorial -- that children would be born of adulterous relationships and that the true identity of the father might not be known for more than twenty-three years," Albin wrote.

    The man was told in 1999 by his ex-wife, identified as Bonnie, that their youngest son was actually the child of the boy's godfather.

    A lower court sided with the man after a DNA test proved he was not the father and ordered the biological father to pay the child support. The appellate court again sided with the man, and the biological father again appealed to the Supreme Court.

    According to the court ruling, the boy's mother told him about the affair because she worried her son might be carrying the gene for muscular dystrophy, a disease that eventually killed both of Patrick's children. She worried the boy, identified as Darren, might pass along the disease to his children.

    "You don't have a lot of heroes here," said attorney Melvyn Bergstein, who represented the biological father in the case. He said that the court made the best decision it could with a difficult situation and that his client was pleased with the decision.

    A lawyer for Roy, Anthony J. Marchetta, said that while he respected the court's opinion, he was disappointed.

    "We thought that these were exceptional circumstances," Marchetta said. "I can't think of a case that's more egregious and more outrageous. ... It was through no fault of the husband that he didn't know."

    According to Bergstein, his client tried to have a relationship with his son, but it didn't work out. In its ruling, the court wrote that Darren and Roy are still very close, despite learning they are not biologically related.
  2. Dirk Legume

    Dirk Legume Active Member

    Not saying the guy didn't have a beef. But, (and the article seems to be unclear) if he raised Darren, then he's the dad.

    A ruling in his favor would seem to open a can of worms re: step parents and adopted parents.

    But it's early and I may just be talking out of my ass. :)
  3. Chef

    Chef Active Member

    "In the game of life......women are the rake......they are the fuckin' rake." [wormfromrounders]
  4. chazp

    chazp Active Member

    [blue]Nice to see that there's still justice in our court system.[blue]
  5. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    You have something of a point, here Dirk. As someone who, until I recently gained custody of my son, was paying child support, I can say it has little to do with the sperm and everything to do with the love.
  6. kingcreole

    kingcreole Active Member

    I have a stepdaughter who calls me Dad and her father Daddy-Mike. She sees him a few weeks in the summer, but rarely calls, sends holiday cards or sends child support despite the fact that he's loaded.

    You're right about being a dad is about love and not sperm. But child support is touchy subject for me. I really feel for this dude. He didn't father a child yet paid child support? Hopefully he was a good father, and I'm sure he was. But if Mommy knew about this (I bet she did), she should have to pay every nickel back.
  7. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Please understand, I'm not saying the guy should be forced to pay it. I certainly would be pissed were I in his shoes. But at the same time, Dirk's point about a case like this certainly brings to light some sticky issues with regards to step parents, adopted parents, etc.
  8. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    He already paid it and the kid's, what, in his 30's?

    At this point, it's your kid. If they're still close, why do you need the money?

    That's your son. You helped raise him. Get on with life.
  9. If this happended to me I'd me mad as hell too.
    I'd want my money back.
    Make the biological father - you know, the cocksucker who was delivering my unfaithful wife the morning meat while I was at work -- pay me back the dough.
    If nothing else, how about convincing the judge to let me have a few minutes out back with the two of them.

    How would you deal with situation when you ex-wife after 20-plus years of child support payments tells you the kid isn't yours and the real dad is the boy's godfather?

    This is a sticky situation with a ton pitfalls, but I don't the biological father should get a free pass here. From reading article it sounds like he got off all the way around.
  10. kingcreole

    kingcreole Active Member

    So the biological father and mother get away with this scot-free?

    The SE at the paper I used to work for was in a spinoff of this situation. Like most child-support cases, he had to pay for his son until he was 18, unless he was a full-time college student through age 22 or 23. His son dropped out halfway through his sophomore year. His dad did not find out more than a year and a bundle of cash later. Son's mom knew her son had dropped out but kept cashing the checks.

    My former SE thought about suing but didn't want to go through the system. I never told him he should have taken the mom to court and gotten every cent back.
  11. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    Unless he can prove that the money didn't go to feeding and clothing the child...

    Yeah, I guess.

    I can see why the guy is pissed, but he isn't pissed at the kid, and I don't see a legal remedy otherwise.

    After 30 years, would it matter to you if the child was biologically yours? At least in how you felt about the child?

    Like I said, he's mad at the mother and rightfully so. But I don't see a cause of action against the biological father. Maybe he could try her in civil court for fraud? But he'd have to prove she knew all along.
  12. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    I don't want this to sound crass -- and Allen, no offense intended, I'm sure you're an awesome dad -- but:

    "It has little to do with the sperm and everything to do with the love" sounds like one of those lines teenagers use to get their girlfriends to swallow.
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