Questioning Paternity? The Time to Check is Now

Many women are unable to get child support for their children but imagine having to pay child support for a child that undoubtedly was not even yours. A case in Oklahoma goes like this, a husband and wife get divorced and the wife turns up pregnant, she approaches her ex, who she had still been having relations with, he asks if he is the father and she confirms that he is. Not questioning the paternity claim until some time later when it was proven by DNA that the man was not the father, state law mandates that he must continue paying child support even though he’s not a biological parent. The reason is because under Oklahoma state law, fathers can’t question paternity after two years, and at this time the boy was five.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. In 2007, about 1/3 of all paternity testing done by DHS proved that the named father was not the biological father but unless testing is performed prior to the child turning two years of age, it is irrelevant for means of financial support. Jeff Wagner, spokesman for the DHS Child Support Enforcement Division states that it comes down to the best interests of the child and protecting the child to ensure that there’s a source of reliable support.

There was a bill filed that would change this by giving presumed fathers one year from the time they discover they are not the parent to contest paternity. The bill died in committee and was not filed again. Even though this doesn't happen that frequently, it does happen and it is frustrating. This situation poses a rather catch 22 scenario, one that could leave a child fatherless but one that also does not penalize a mother for what very well could be an act of fraud. Further, what type of stable situation can come out of an angered man who has to pay for a child that isn't his, can he be a good parental role model? In this particular case the man is paying his child support and although he has been granted visitation by the courts has still been unable to see the boy since November. He claims that if the real father will come forward then he will step aside but otherwise he would like custody.

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