In Germany, and now in Europe generally, biological fathers have no parental rights as long as another man plays the role of father. That’s the ruling of the European Court for Human Rights. Read about it here (The Local, 3/22/12).
German courts had previously ruled the same way, and their decisions were upheld by the European court.
The rights of fathers to develop and continue relationships with their children do not grant them the right to challenge the position of the legal fathers, the court said.It should be plain that these rulings place fathers’ rights ever more firmly in the hands of mothers. Under the decisions, all a mother has to do is deceive a father about paternity long enough to involve another man in parenting and the biological father loses his child for good. The rulings are an open invitation to paternity fraud.
A 41-year-old man from Berlin had a relationship with a woman who had been living with another man. When she had a baby, her live-in partner was registered as the father and the couple raised the child.
When her lover challenged this, he was recognised by a court expert as the biological father, but was denied legal paternity in the interests of the child.
The second case involved another 41-year-old man from Willich in North Rhine-Westphalia whose ex-wife had a baby four months after they divorced. She later declared a new partner to be the father and then married him.
A German court, now supported by the European one, ruled that the biological father had no right to legally-recognised paternity – the child already had a legal father.
As we’ve seen all too many times, it doesn’t take much effort or ingenuity for a mother to avoid a father long enough to give birth to the child, place it for adoption or convince another man it’s his. Usually, a simple “Our relationship is suffocating me; I need to move on” will be sufficient, but if that fails, it’s a simple matter to get a restraining order based on mere allegations of threatening behavior. With the courts on her side, it’s the rare dad indeed who (a) knows she’s pregnant, (b) knows the child is his and (c) can do something to exercise his parental rights.
Like it or not, that’s what the European court is promoting.
Do I have to mention that it’s all done “in the best interests of the child?” So, if the child develops an illness or medical condition later in life, he/she won’t be able to know about any genetic predisposition to same that might have come from the paternal lineage. That’s in a child’s interest? According to the courts, yes.
Unstated is the matter of child support. I suppose it’s obvious enough that the biological dads don’t have to pay to support a child that, according to the courts, isn’t theirs. But what happens when the man who was chosen by the mother to be the dad dies? Can the biological father, who’s been denied for so long, point to the court’s ruling and refuse to pay? Or does he miraculously become the dad again? The courts don’t say, but I’d be willing to bet we’ll find out soon enough.
I’d also be willing to bet that, in the event of the non-bio dad’s death, the biological father does become the dad again. After all, it’s all about the best interests of the child, and surely that includes his child support, right? How would it be in the child’s interest to not receive support just because his “father” died?
As long as we empower women to decide fathers’ rights to their children and children’s rights to their fathers, this sort of screwed-up decision will continue to mar family law and jurisprudence. There’s a simple solution – DNA testing for all children at birth to determine paternity. That way we learn who is and who isn’t the father from day one and men and children are never in doubt about the matter.
Yes, it takes power from mothers to decide fathers’ rights, but that should have been done a long time ago.