Monday, April 28, 2008

Common law, but where's the common sense

I don't know Mark Spaid, but I feel sorry for the guy. The Western Pennsylvania resident has been through a living hell for the past 16 years, involved in a protracted court battle and paying more than $10,000 in support for a child that everyone agrees isn't his. According to an Associated Press report, the whole mess started when Spaid, who works as a laborer, sought a court order for a DNA test to prove the child delivered by his then-wife was the result of her dalliance with some other guy. Spaid was pretty sure of what the outcome would be, because he had a vasectomy two years earlier. What he didn't know was that Pennsylvania law, when it comes to cases like this, presumes that a husband is the legal father of a child born during his marriage. No ifs, ands or buts. Based on English common law, it's supposedly aimed at securing the child's financial and emotional future. What it actually does is royally screw guys whose wives are worthless skanks. Instead of getting his DNA test, Spaid got an order to pay child support and, during his long court battle, spent some time in jail for failure to follow the order. Michael McCormick, executive director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, told the AP that presumption of paternity means "it's OK to perpetrate a fraud on a man with respect to what he believes are his children, and we are rewarding mothers for doing that." Lynne Gold-Bikin, a divorce lawyer, disagreed, saying "I get angry with these guys who say, 'It's not my kid, it's not my kid' ... Remember whose ox is getting gored here. Who is the one who is going to suffer? The child." With apologies to Ms. Gold-Bikin in advance, I would say this to her: UP YOURS. The person who caused the suffering is the woman who violated her marriage vows and slept with another man. Not the unwitting husband. And in this day and age, we have DNA testing that can find the actual father, who should then be forced to meet his obligations to HIS child. That is, if the mother can remember his name, or bothered to even get it in the first place. When it comes to issues of custody and support, it seems that men typically get the short end of the stick. I'm sure our regular contributor Priguy could tell us a couple of his horror stories with the system. For Spaid, the whole mess had a somewhat happy ending. His ex-wife was giving up custody so that a couple could adopt the now-teenage daughter for whom Spaid was paying support. During that process, in which Spaid was asked to give up his parental rights, he finally got his court-ordered DNA test. Lo and behold, he wasn't the father.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm. Sensitive subject. My biological father always dodged the system by working under-the-table jobs and by putting only his wife's name on any major purchases. So, while I lived in the ghetto, he lived in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. While we didn't have a car or phone service, he was a respected volunteer fireman. So, yes, this guy got screwed in more ways than one. But please don't forget that there are just as many deadbeat fathers as skanky mothers out there.
-- staffer who doesn't want a libel suit.

April 28, 2008 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Brant said...

Parents, whether men or women, who shirk their responsibilities and don't financially support their children should be in jail. Period. It's just that I don't think people should have to support children fathered by someone else.

April 28, 2008 at 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's true, Brant. And I have to thank the men and women who do support the kids that aren't theirs. My mother and step-father divorced when I was 10, but my step-father continued to send child support through the state for my sister. He would also visit every payday to drop off money for my needs. That commitment never stopped, and to this day he's there when I need him. He's a good man, and I'm thankful for people like him.
- Staffer who doesn't want a libel suit.

April 28, 2008 at 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worthless skank? Haven't heard that since about 1968. And they say the poetry of language is dead.

May 1, 2008 at 9:16 PM  

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