Old Paternity Laws Don’t Work in Today’s World
TheAttorneyStore.com writer Laura L. Smith
Paternity fraud took a Hollywood slant this week when comedian and actor Chris Rock released a statement declaring that a DNA test disproves a woman’s claim that he fathered her 13-year-old son.
Rock puts the spotlight on a very hot topic. ”Put up and shut up” is not acceptable any longer. DNA is bringing a new light to paternity cases such as Rock’s and also cases like the underdog situations in which many of those paying child support are not the biological fathers of the children being supported.
There’s quite a few hard-to-believe paternity stories out there. According to a WorldNetDaily.com article, Geoffrey Fisher was relieved from his child support payment after a DNA test proved he wasn’t the father of the child, although the state of Maine still took his driver’s license and required him to pay about $11,000 in back payments.
Men all over the country who thought they were the fathers of children and find out they aren’t are questioning courts that have no obvious legal grounds to stand on except for the Bradley Amendment. The 1986 amendment mandates that a child-support debt cannot be retroactively reduced or forgiven even if the debtor proves not to be the father.
On eagleforum.org, columnist Phyllis Schlafly called for the Bradley Amendment to be repealed. ”The Bradley debt is misnamed ‘child support’,” she writes. ”It is a court-imposed judgment to punish men and extract money from them to support some mothers and a $3 billion federal–state bureaucracy.” This legislation that originally was to help clean up the damage dead-beat dads had created has now become what some like Schlafly call ”punishment.”
In 2004, the Bradley Amendment was being challenged and was the subject of a repeal effort. In February 2006, the court case was dismissed, and there has not been any visible effort to reform this amendment.