April 6, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
Sigh, another case of paternity fraud, another case lost by the father (CBC, 4/4/18). And of course since it’s a case of paternity fraud, it’s also a case in which a judge blames the father, not the mother, for failing to demand a paternity test earlier.
To be clear, there’s an outside chance this may not be paternity fraud. Genetic testing hasn’t been done, so the boy may not be the child of the man who believes he is. But if looks are any way to judge – and everyone in the case seems to think they are – the boy was fathered by a man who’s not the mother’s husband. (Unhelpfully, none of the people in the case except the judge are identified by the linked-to article.)
The 15-page decision describes how the mother had a brief relationship more than a decade ago with the man applying for the test, adding that she was also in a relationship with another man at the time.
The pair worked at the same business and the man met the little boy when the mother brought him to her office when he was a few months old. The man said he asked if the boy was his, and that he believed her when she said no…
But he claimed that he had doubts when he saw a photo of the child on her Facebook page and was "shocked" to notice that the boy looked like him when he was a child. He says he showed his own mother, who then contacted the woman and her husband to say she wanted a paternity test done.
Notice that the article is careful to mention no dates. The actual father asked the woman if the child were his when the lad was just a few months old. She denied it. At some point later, he happened to see a photo of the child on the woman’s Facebook page and at that point thought he looked like him. His mother did too and demanded a paternity test. How old was the child? Who knows? How long did it take for the case to reach the provincial Supreme Court and be decided? Again, who knows?
Those are important issues.
[Justice Lester] Jesudason said the man provided little reason for doing the test, waited years before making the request and did so after his mother took the initial steps to have it done.
Did he “wait” years after having reason to think the child is his? Or did the mother’s false statement convince him the child is another man’s and years later he saw the Facebook page? Again, the article carefully avoids the issue.
But whatever the case, the judge placed the onus on the man to figure out the truth rather than on the woman who knew the truth. As I’ve written many times, the judge has it exactly backwards. The mother knows with whom she had sex at or near the time of conception. No one else has that information. So it makes no sense to require her male partners to, in some way, ascertain that someone other than her husband may be the child’s father. She has the information. She should be required to disclose it. Had she done so, the current brouhaha would have been avoided.
And it is precisely her refusal to disclose to all possible fathers that they may have a child that produced the aforesaid brouhaha.
A Halifax judge has denied a man’s request for a paternity test on a young teen, saying the process may be too distressing for the boy who has health issues and has grown up thinking another man is his biological father…
"To potentially cause great upheaval in his life now at this delicate stage when … he’s finally showing signs of being in a period of recovery is not in [his] best interests," he said in the decision, released Wednesday following a hearing in the court’s family division last Sept. 25.
"I am concerned about causing potential instability for him by forcing the paternity testing."
Assuming the judge is correct, there’s one and only one reason that learning his true paternity would be too distressing for the boy – the mother’s failure to come clean from the start. Had she done so when the child was too young to know what was going on, all the potential distress – for him, her husband and the father – would have long ago been rendered moot.
When it comes to paternity fraud, it seems there’s always a reason why the truth is considered unimportant. Here it’s the child’s health issue, whatever it is. There’ve been countless excuses in other cases. I don’t think I’ve ever read a paternity fraud case in which the judge grasped the simple, obvious fact that the woman and the woman alone has the information, disclosure of which would make life so much simpler for everyone involved, including the judicial system.
And, speaking of health,
The decision states that the man argued it is in the boy’s best interests to find out his "biological heritage" since his family has a history of cancer, ADHD and dyslexia.
It’s quite a rich irony that a case denying a child the right to know his true father does so on the basis of the child’s health while simultaneously denying the child vital information that could impact that health. And, needless to say, the judge considered that to be in the boy’s “best interests.”
Make sense? No, and neither does much else regarding paternity fraud.
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