As anyone knows who has been commenting on this blog (including the vast array of nuts I’ve attracted) I am now entering my second year of blogging about child custody issues. October 27, 2004 was my very first post.
Generally what I’ve done in the past is post an article with a link attached along with a brief opinion of my own about the article.
Now, I’d like to try something different and each week post a discussion point about various public policies I’d like to see implemented nationwide. I don’t know if there are enough discussion points on the various public policies out there to cover 52 weeks in a year (since I generally update weekly) but since I have a very active imagination somehow I think there will be.
One policy, which I would like to discuss today, is a time limit for a so-called prodigal father to be allowed to file a paternity lawsuit.
Why is it that a prodigal father can be aware of a pregnancy for months before the birth or even be at the hospital for the birth, then decide NOT to file to have his name placed on his childrens’ birth certificate for months or even years afterwards? In essence isn’t he abandoning his children?
YET years after the fact, with no questions asked or penalty whatsoever, the prodigal is then allowed to file for paternity even though he had the opportunity to do so earlier and chose not to exercise it?
Is there any other legal situation that someone can think of where a person can chose not to exercise their rights and then turn up years later and file for them?
For instance can I get injured on someone’s property and wait ten years to file a lawsuit? Can I just leave my car on the street and turn up years afterwards to reclaim it? Same thing with my house, can I refuse to pay property taxes on it, abandoning it really and then suddenly waltz in and announce I’ve decided to reclaim my rights? Can a mother leave her children for a year or two, or three and then suddenly turn up again and reclaim them as if nothing happened?
No, I don’t think so.
Most states have a six months to a year abandonment policy regarding children and this should be enforced via paternity claims as well. Unless these prodigals can prove they didn’t know about the child or said child was deliberately hidden from them, then their rights to file a paternity claim should be time limited to the six months to a year that most states force mothers to live under.
It’s clearly a special benefit for men which allows this scenario to play out ONLY with paternity claims, whereas after years of ignoring their children these same prodigal fathers are even allowed to simultaneously file a paternity and custody lawsuit at the same time.
I mean New York was stunned to learn that John Aylsworth, who was at the hospital when Bridget Marks’ twins were born,YET chose to wait over THREE YEARS to file a paternity suit, was still allowed to file a custody lawsuit following it as well.
OVER THREE YEARS AFTER THE FACT.
Even though he knew about the kids since their birth and left them with their mother all those years.
What kind of crap is that?
We shouldn’t be allowing special treatment for men to file for paternity whenever it is most advantageous for them to do so, as in: My kids’ mother died so now I can file for paternity and custody of the kid I’ve been ignoring for years. This will enable me to collect her life insurance policy and social security benefits even though I knew about my kid for years and never bothering filing a paternity suit in all that time.
OR alternative scenario: My kids’ mother finally woke up and realizes I’m not really planning on marrying her and she has started seeing someone else. So before she marries someone else and then hits me up for child support, which I’ve gotten away with paying up to now stringing her along with the “we’ll be getting married soon” baloney, let me file for paternity and custody first…
Unless, as I stated previously, these prodigal fathers have creditable proof that they weren’t aware of the existence of the child or the child was actively hidden from them, then their claim should be denied outright. The six months to a year abandonment clause should automatically kick in (no judicial discretion whatsoever here) which covers abandonment of children in most states and these prodigals should be turned away from courts and not allowed to file a ‘daddy-come-lately’ paternity lawsuits.