This article tells us that, since 2007, Australia has had a law allowing men who are victims of paternity fraud to recoup at least some of the child support they’ve been forced to pay (The Australian, 4/16/10). Predictably enough, some women’s groups are enraged.
New figures obtained by The Australian reveal that since January 2007, 48 men have won back a total of $434,378.64 paid through the Child Support Agency.
The men used DNA testing to prove they were not the biological fathers of children they had been supporting. One man got back more than $70,000 by proving children were not his.
Interesting too is the fact that,
Hundreds of tests have proved that an aggrieved man is, in fact, the biological father of the child in question.
So why have only 48 received reimbursement? Well, it seems that,
Section 143 of the Child Support (Assessment) Act, requires the Family Court to consider issuing orders for repayment where paternity is successfully challenged and child support has been paid.
So the court need only “consider” ordering repayment. What criteria it uses to issue an order in one case but not another, the article doesn’t say, but 48 orders out of “hundreds of tests” suggest that it’s not easy for a victim of paternity fraud to get his money back.
Meanwhile, the anti-dad crowd is up in arms. Kathleen Swinbourne of the Sole Parents Union had this to say:
“What does this say to children about being wanted, being loved, being parented? What does this do to children whose fathers turn around and say, `I’m not your daddy anymore, I don’t want you’,” she said.
“The effect of this on children must be devastating. And that’s to say nothing about the financial circumstances mothers find themselves in in trying to continue to support their children while trying to pay back child support.”
Ms Swinbourne said she did not accept the argument that men should be entitled to change their role in children’s lives based on biology.
Let’s see. According to her, “for the sake of the children,” mothers should be able to deceive men about paternity and suffer no consequences. How developing a relationship with a man who’s not its father, while missing out on one with the man who is, benefits a child, Swinbourne doesn’t explain. A man, according to her, should have no say whatsoever about who he parents and who he doesn’t. In her world, deception on the part of the mother, while perhaps regrettable (although she nowhere acknowledges even that), should be a free shot. If it works, he’s on the hook for good and all. If not, well, no harm done.
Amazingly enough, her take on the situation is that it “must be devastating” for the children. That may be true, but she seems not to grasp the concept that what’s devastating, for both children and men is the mother’s fraud. Without that, the child has a dad and the dad has a child.
It’s astonishing that Swinbourne doesn’t seem to understand the simple fact that it’s the mother who has the information about paternity all along. She can always just opt to be honest, to tell the actual dad instead of the man who’s not. After all, that’s what the vast majority of women manage to do very easily. The problem begins with mothers who think it’s OK to deceive men about paternity. If there are consequences to that deception, maybe there’ll be less of it. If there aren’t, as I say, it’s a free shot. So what Swinbourne is really arguing for, by opposing any and all consequences to the mother, is continued paternity fraud with all its attendant heartache for men and children.
Likewise, she claims that biology shouldn’t be important in determining a man’s relationship to a child. But how would that look if the shoe were on the woman’s foot? How would she feel if Child Protective Services dropped off a couple of foster kids with her to raise. What’s the problem, Ms. Swinbourne, did biology start to matter after all? Or maybe she’d argue that it’s not her choice to raise those kids. To which I say, “that’s right; you’re starting to understand.”
The article leaves it to the always excellent Sue Price of the Men’s Rights Agency to point out the obvious.
“I think it’s a good thing that children are able to know the biological father rather than their pretend father,” she said. “I think it’s essential that they should be able to have the money repaid to them. Why should they have to pay for another man’s child?”
Another of the many things that people like Swinbourne never acknowledge is that, for every child there is in fact a biological father who should have a relationship with his child and contribute to its support. He may not be the one of the mother’s choosing, but he’s there all the same. She chose him as a lover and became pregnant by him. What Swinbourne wants to continue is women’s power over men’s parental rights. Anything, even something as slight as this Australian law is an intolerable threat to that.
Opposing honesty and supporting dishonesty is rarely easy. That’s no less true here.
Thanks to John for the heads-up.