Relief for ‘duped dads’

Men ordered to pay child support could demand a paternity test under the “duped dads” bill proposed in Colorado.

A Cascade man says he served 58 days in jail after falling behind on child support payments even though a DNA test proved he wasn’t the father of the two children he was required to support.

Currently, a man must show he’s not the father within eight months of the child support order. Some “duped dads” say they didn’t suspect a paternity issue till much later.

You’d think a man who’d raised children as his own would want to support them, but I can’t see requiring child support for someone else’s kids.

About Joanne


  1. I think part of the issue, regarding your last paragraph, is that many of them don’t have custody or even visitation. (Certainly that’s a common complaint from them, at any rate – I couldn’t guess what the percentages are.)

    And if the mother is working and quite capable of supporting the kids, the fathers may reasonably wonder why they have to pay a large chunk of their income to effectively give mom extra spending money, to notionally support children that aren’t actually theirs and that they never get to see.

    Plus, of course, while there’s going to be an emotional bond there, the corrosive effects of being lied to for years can undo a lot, given a little time. (Not to mention that there’s a divorce involved in these cases, and I suspect often a pretty acrimonious one. Combine that with finding out the kids aren’t even yours, and some of that acrimony will, deserved or not, possibly get transferred to the kids.)

    (Of course, all of this could be prevented by either not sleeping around, or being honest about paternity in the first place, but that doesn’t affect those already in such a situation.)

  2. “You’d think a man who’d raised children as his own would want to support them, but I can’t see requiring child support for someone else’s kids.”

    Do you realize how many dads out there don’t even want to support their own kids (my M.D. Ph.D. dad had to spend a little time in jail in California before finally paying court-ordered child support) if it means less money for them to spend on themselves? And then there are the stepmoms who resent the pinch on family finances to support some other lady’s kids – they’re not exactly good influences on fathers when it comes to divvying up his income.

  3. My son isn’t mine biologically. His mother lied about his paternity when we were seeing each other, and I thought better than to question her integrity.

    He lives with me about half the time, I raise him about half the time, I pay out the ying yang in child support all the time.

    I may be an exception here, but let’s not be cavalier about dads’ not caring for their children, OK Cath?

  4. Cardinal Fang says:

    For divorced dads who actually lived with the children for a while, I’d require child support. If you’ve raised the child as your own, it’s yours now, same as an adopted kid, or one from donor sperm. It’s too bad that the mother lied to the father (or was mistaken) but that shouldn’t affect the child.

    Good for you, Darren. He is your son, and it’s to your credit that you treat him as your son.

  5. I don’t agree. Your guesses about the social relationship inside these marriages are just that.

    When a relationship is the result of a fraud, who knows what undercurrents are there? Who knows what relationship might exist between the men and the children? People send unconscious signals all the time.

    Personally, I think the man should be able to prosecute the woman for that fraud. There is very little more intrusive than having your whole life decimated by such things.

    Perhaps paternity tests should be instituted automatically in the hospital. That would clear things up quite quickly.

    (Sheaths claws)

  6. When should a man be forced to pay child support for a child that is not his?
    a.) If he voluntarily agrees to do so and signs an agreement to that effect.
    b.) If he wants visitation rights, in which case so option “a” above and consider that volunteering for something does not mean you want to do it.

    The biological father should then be on the hook for the child support going forward but not back child support unless the mother can prove that he knew. If that is the case then he owes restitution to the duped dad.

    The mother should be prosecuted for fraud if she was aware of the mix-up. Having to prove knowledge on her part would keep most mothers from being successfully prosecuted.

    You have my admiration and you are a saint among men. I would hope that I would be as honorable as you were I ever in the same situation.

  7. Indigo Warrior says:

    Non-gender-biased laws (and enforcement) would really help here too – now that the technology existed for many years to prove paternity. It’s no longer a “matter of opinion, but maternity a matter of fact.”