Friday, May 05, 2006

DNA tests foster changes in paternity laws

USA Today reports:
Florida legislators are scheduled to vote today on whether to allow men to escape child-support payments and other legal responsibilities if DNA tests show they are not the fathers of children born to their wives or partners.

Florida would become the 17th state since 2001 to alter a centuries-old legal principle that holds men responsible for children born of a marriage regardless of whether the men are the biological fathers, says the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) in Washington, D.C. The principle, which comes from English common law, is designed to keep children from being left without support.
No, I don't think that was the purpose of the English law. The father and the child have a right to have a relationship with each other, and the law was a way of legally establishing that relationship when technology could not.

Now we have reliable DNA tests. The law should be fixed to respect provable facts.

I wouldn't describe the change as "allow[ing] men to escape child-support payments". I say that it is allowing men to terminate the fraudulent mother support orders. It doesn't even offer a refund of past fraud, or prosecute the perpetrator of the paternity fraud.