Here’s yet another story that argues persuasively for requiring women to name the father of a child one gives birth to (NewsHub, 4/9/18).
An Australian man the article calls Kerry and a woman, Julie, had a one-night stand 20 years ago. She had a child and named Kerry the father. He assumed she was telling the truth. She wasn’t. For the next 18 years, he paid child support for the child. For some reason,
Kerry, who lives in the coastal town of Cervantes in Western Australia, was speaking with a child support consultant who told him their records didn't have a result for a DNA test.
"I said, 'because I didn't have one'," Kerry told Channel 9's A Current Affair.
"And he pretty much on the phone called me a stupid idiot and to go and get one done as soon as I could."
He did and it revealed he’s not the father. So Kerry’s out about $58,000 Australian, paid for a child who’s not his. Given that, what’s also true is that some man hasn’t supported his child, nor has he been permitted to have a relationship with the child. And of course the child hasn’t had a father.
All of that is true for one reason and one reason only – we don’t require women to identify the father of their children. We do bizarre and utterly unnecessary things like presuming a married man to be the father of any child born to his wife. That might have made since before we could do reliable DNA testing, but now we can, and we should. We should test every child at birth.
But until that happens, we should require women to identify the father. After all, we in the United States place that requirement on women who receive Temporary Aid to Needy Families, so why not do it across the board. As a practical matter, that would mean requiring them to name every man with whom they’d had sex at or near the time of conception. In Kerry’s case, that would have conferred many benefits on many people – Kerry, the actual father and the child.
Gender feminists argue that a woman’s right to privacy trumps the interests of all those three. But of course U.S. law has never recognized a right to withhold the name of the father of one’s child or, alternatively, all possible fathers. If it did, the requirement that mothers receiving TANF benefits could never exist. But it does.
Plus, the notion that the commission of fraud in order to obtain money from another person should be enabled by the right to privacy finds no place in any sensible national policy.
Predictably, Julie blames Kerry for the fraud she perpetrated on him.
In a statement sent to A Current Affair, Julie denied any intentional wrong-doing, saying instead that Kerry had been offered the opportunity to check the paternity but didn't take it.
"Over the last 18 years Kerry has had the chance to get a DNA test, but as myself and Child Support could never get in contact with him, it never happened, and now he is coming out with accusations that are unfounded and untrue," she said.
Kerry’s a commercial fisherman and, I assume difficult to reach when he’s at sea. But what Julie doesn’t mention is the fact that she had sex with another man at or near the time of conception. She didn’t tell Kerry that. She didn’t’ tell the other man. And she didn’t tell the Child Support Agency. If she had, the actual father could have formed a relationship with his child, helped support him/her and the child would have had a dad. The fault is Julie’s; the fraud is hers and hers alone. Kerry’s only fault was in believing her. I suspect he’s learned his lesson.
Julie will likely be required to pay back the support, but as she is not currently employed, she could pay just $49.80 a fortnight.
After feeling hassled "non-stop" by the Child Support Agency, Kerry now feels as though it should be responsible for repaying him.
"They accepted me as the father without any proof."
Moms repaying fraudulently obtained child support would never happen in the U.S. and I’m amazed that New Zealand requires it. Of course at $100 per month, it’ll take Julie 580 months to pay off the debt. I’m assuming there will be no interest attached to her debt, the way there is to unpaid child support.
But she needn’t worry. Julie can simply name the other man with whom she had sex and he’ll be required to pay “child support” to her for a “child” who’s now roughly 20 years old and, one assumes, out of the nest and on her own. There’s no statute of limitations on child support, so, somewhere there’s a man who’s in for a rude surprise. He’ll get to pay 18 years of support for a child who’s no longer a child and whom he’s never met. And who knows? Maybe he’ll be much better off financially than is Kerry. That would mean he’d have to pay much more and possibly in a lump sum. So our Julie possibly stands to make out like a bandit, potentially receiving a very large sum of money up front, while dribbling out $100 a month to the man she defrauded.
Good work, if you can get it.