According to The United States Census Bureau in 2020, “About 4 out 10 children were born to unwed mothers. Nearly two-thirds were born to mothers under the age of 30. Today 1 in 6 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 12.5 million — are being raised without a father.” These are unsettling facts especially when you add the certain details like men being uncertain if they are the fathers of babies and those doubts may affect them being around to raise their children.
But what about the men who are raising children that are not theirs, or being forced to pay child support for children they did not father? It happens way more than people want to admit. So that makes many wonder if paternity tests should be mandatory when children are born?
Paternity fraud is when a man is misidentified as the father of a child. There are some reports that paternity fraud is occurring on a massive scale and up to thirty percent of fathers have been the victims of this type of fraud. That number is too high in my opinion and could be avoided if women would be honest about their sexual activity. Because fraud means that women are intentionally telling men that they are the fathers of their children when they know they are not.
Not only does this type of fraud cause emotional pain to men, it can be costly to men financially. But more importantly the children are dealt a life altering blow. Father’s who have paternity tests and find out they were the victims of fraud, will often abandon the child and cut off not only financial support but emotional support. Imagine how traumatic that can be for children who now are also victims of paternity fraud and its consequences.
The case of Joseph Sinawa
In 2018 a Florida man by the name of Joseph Sinawa went to the courts to get visitation for a child he believed to be his own so much so, at the time of the child’s birth he signed the birth certificate. When he went to court, the judge assigned to the case ordered a DNA test to establish paternity, which is common when the courts get involved with cases of visitation and custody of children made outside of marriages.
Imagine Mr. Sinawa’s shock, pain and anger when he found out a child that he had been financially and emotionally supporting was in fact another man’s child? Mr. Sinawa rightfully wanted to discontinue his support obligation but surprisingly the State of Florida said, “No” and his obligation was continued until he goes through the proper legal steps to de-establish paternity even though the mother was in agreement that he stops paying support.
Picture how much money Mr. Sinawa will have paid before that happens? And he stated that paying support was a significant portion of his pay so it while he didn’t view it as a hardship when he thought the child was his. But imagine how he feels now?
Injustice in Tennessee
I found a video that I feel will illustrate the frustration that a man could feel with being obligated to pay for a child that is not his, and the struggle to avoid financially responsibility when the State insists that you do so…
(Posted on YouTube by WREG Channel 3)
This man had his Driver’s License, his money and even his freedom taken away over child support payments for a child who is fathered by another man. The kicker is, the State of Tennessee allegedly has the name of the real father, but still wants him to be on the hook for supporting the child.
The sad thing is, this man asked over the years for a paternity test from several judges and his pleas were not adhered to. Just because the mother falsely accused him of being her child’s father, he was ordered to pay. And when he had a test performed independent of the courts that led to the courts ordering their own test be performed.
And guess what? Both tests proved the mother’s accusations to be false and only then was he allowed to go through the process of de-establishing the paternity that he never agreed to in the first place. Even though child support was stopped he still had to pay arrears. Now mind you, this man has already paid over thirty thousand dollars to this woman who allegedly knows who the real father is!
Married men are presumed fathers
In most states if a couple is married any child that comes out of that union is presumed to be fathered by the husband. In some states even if the man has a paternity test that proves he is not the child’s father, he will still be responsible for the child regardless. Luckily there are legal remedies, but they are often time consuming and costly to the presumed fathers.
So what can be done to curb all of these injustices?
I say that across the board, states should require that paternity tests be mandatory for each child immediately after the child is born. The same as the mandatory immunizations giving to a newborn before it even leaves the hospital. The paternity test is less invasive than most tests and immunizations given to babies. A paternity test is painless, as it involves simply swabbing a baby’s mouth.
Some men are apprehensive to ask for a paternity test because it might hurt their relationship with the possible mother of his child. That is understandable because some women are offended when a man doubts paternity or requires she prove his paternity through DNA testing. But if the test is required for all not just some, that alleviates the possibility of hurt feelings because no one will be singled out. So how can a mother and her family take offense when this procedure is required of all newborn babies.
The benefits of establishing paternity for fathers
The truth is most men who are biological fathers of children want to be in their child’s life and want to financially support their children. There are benefits for father’s getting paternity tests. One of the main benefits is that paternity is established. This is crucial for unmarried fathers who normally do not have parental rights when the unmarried mother automatically legally does. A paternity test that is properly administered is proof to a court of law that the man in question is the biological father of a child therefore giving him rights in the eyes of the law.
A paternity test can make it easier for a man to seek visitation and custody for a child. A paternity test that excludes the man in question can also keep him from having to pay child support for a child that is not biologically his. This can also protects his assets from going to a child and mother who are not entitled to them such as his life insurance or Social Security benefits.
The benefits of establishing paternity for children
Aside from the obvious benefits that a child gets financially, there are other reasons why a paternity test could benefit children. When men know for a fact a child is there they will not be hesitant to emotionally support the child fully. This gives a child the ability to freely bond with their father and their paternal family members. Every child deserves a village to help in their upbringing and a positive paternity test gives them the best opportunity to do so especially when there are doubts about paternity.
Another benefit is that a child and his mother will have the ability to know the medical history of the father which can help if medical issues arise in the lifetime of the child. This is important and can actually be life saving in some situations.
So what do you think? Should paternity tests be mandatory when a child is born? You already know where I stand on the matter.
But what do I know? I’m just a bootleg sociologist who nobody will listen to so I started a blog…
What are your thoughts?
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