Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bill could help avoid paying support -Florida

Tallahassee Democrat 04/19/2005 Bill could help avoid paying support

What a SICK title - as if not wanting to pay for a child that is not yours is AVOIDANCE!!


Men who get DNA tests to disprove paternity could avoid paying child support, under a bill Rep. Curtis Richardson steered through a key House panel Monday.

Some members of the House Justice Council objected that "the best interests of the child" were being trumped by belated proof that a man ordered to pay support was not the biological father of a child. But Richardson, D-Tallahassee, said his bill would not allow men to escape financial obligations if they have previously acknowledged fatherhood, adopted a child or tried to stop some other man from assuming parental responsibility.

Former state Sen. Fred Dudley, representing The Florida Bar family-law section, said it was important the bill only applies to future child-support orders "so we're not subjecting literally tens of thousands of child-support orders out there to a new rule about collateral attacks on the judgments." Dudley also said judges "always need to use the 'best-interests-of-the-child test' in making this determination" to end child support.
(Read: Let's not give men who are currently paying support for children they did not father a reprieve.)

If a man has adopted a child, or has consented to being listed on a birth certificate as a baby's father, he could not change his mind and try to get out of child support under the bill. Richardson said if a man has stopped some other man from adopting a child or asserting fatherhood, he could not later renounce paternity and stop paying.

Richardson said men would have to file an affidavit in court stating that they do not think they fathered a child and would have to pay for DNA testing. A judge could require the mother to have the child tested.

Rep. John Quinones, R-Kissimmee, objected strenuously to the bill. He said some children have bonded with men they believe are their fathers, who may have accepted responsibility for years before getting suspicious and having a DNA test.

"You have children who are essentially going to be bastardized," Quinones said. "You have sperm donors and then you have fathers, and when someone has raised a child as their own for this many years ... they should continue their obligation."

But Rep. Mark Mahon, R-Jacksonville, said as a family-law attorney, he has had to explain to men that they must continue paying child support for children they can prove are not theirs.

"The courts are supposed to be searchers for truth," Mahon said. "It's very difficult to explain to a man that DNA testing can get someone off Death Row, but DNA proving they are not the father cannot get them relieved of a support order."

A companion bill (SB 1456) by Sen. Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, has cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee and is pending in the Children and Families Committee.

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Blogger mia said...

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4:55 AM  

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