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November 10th, 2011 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
I’ve been wanting to post this for some time (Agence France Presse,9/11/11).  It seems a German court in Karlsruhe has ruled that a woman must divulge the identity of the man who fathered her child.  Not only that, but apparently she’ll have to pay back the duped non-dad the money he paid her to support the child he thought was his.

The couple were together for a time and the child was born in 2007.  They split up, but the woman told the man he was the child’s father and he accordingly paid to support it.  But somehow he learned that she’d lied to him, so he went to court to get back the money he’d paid due to her fraud, about $6,200.

Now, there’s nothing in the article that says the court ruled that he can’t recover the money, so I assume he can.  If so, Germany’s a step ahead of most U.S. jurisdictions that are still wrestling with the issue of whether to support lying about paternity or telling the truth.  The German court had no such difficulty.

“The defendant owes the plaintiff, in good faith, information about the person who was present at the time of conception,” the court in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe said in a written statement.

I have to say, that’s one of the strangest descriptions of sexual intercourse I’ve ever read.  “Present at the time of conception.”  What was he doing, filming her?

Still, I like the term “in good faith.”  It’s a concept U.S.courts could use more of when it comes to paternity fraud.  The idea, put forward by some, that courts should give a pass to women who lie about paternity, is among the silliest and most pernicious I’ve ever heard.  Telling the truth has a lot to recommend it in its own right.  But apart from the strictly moral aspect of the thing, if the woman comes clean from the start, two men and one child will be saved inexpressible hurt and anguish, and everyone will be saved a lot of money.

If American courts and legislatures can’t figure that one out, maybe they can telephone a German judge who can.

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