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Beth Ann

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What is a father? [Jan. 13th, 2009|07:09 pm]
Beth Ann
There's been some interesting coverage in the Globe and Mail recently about the case of a Toronto man, Pasqualino Cornelio, who was recently ordered by a judge to continue paying child support to his ex-wife for her 16 year-old twins despite the fact that he is not their biological father.

This is a tough situation. It's horrible that Cornelio's ex-wife deceived him, but the twins are not responsible for their mother's actions. It would not reflect well on Cornelio if he were to simply abandon them now that their biological parentage is known; after all, they've known only him as a father for 16 years, and he seems to have remained involved in their lives after his divorce from their mother. It must be hard enough for these teens to come to terms with the fact that the man whom they believed was their father, and who has behaved as such their entire lives, isn't biologically related to them at all. To have him cut off all support (financial and/or emotional) at this point seems unnecessarily cruel, especially as they'll soon reach the threshold of adulthood. So in a way I can see where the judge is coming from, although financially it's patently unfair to Mr. Cornelio, and I can't help thinking some sort of compromise could have been found. His ex-wife deceived him for years, and it's clear that he can't trust her. If he's to continue paying support, perhaps the judge should have given him the option to pay into a trust fund (or something similar) so that he can be sure the money is going to the children and not his ex-wife. As I understand it, payments for minors go directly to the custodial parent, and while the money is supposed to be spent on the children, there are no checks and balances in place to ensure that this is the case. This becomes especially desirable because some other things in the article suggest that the ex-wife was attempting to use her children to get back at Mr. Cornelio: "The issue of paternity only went to the lab for DNA testing when Ms. Cornelio recently sought to get an increase in child support and to restrict Mr. Cornelio's access to the children. He had long suspected that the children might not be his, but he never pursued the truth. In fact, he had dutifully paid support since 1998."

What's perhaps most disturbing about this story though is its potential implications for other people/cases/relationships. The articles spawned lots of comments, many of them from men annoyed on Mr. Cornelio's behalf, and scared that a similar thing could happen to them. Many advocate making paternity testing mandatory at birth, and others are planning to take cheek swabs from their children and have tests done without the knowledge of their wives. Some of the comments, like this one, are particularly disturbing:

It should be no surprise the judge ruled this way. Women's rights issues aside, the real reason the ruling went against the man is simple. If the woman could not support herself and her kids, and there was no man the judge could force to pay, who's pocket would the money come out of to support her? Answer - The Government's in the form of Welfare. To avoid this expense, the law is written so the judge can assign the expense to practically any male, even those males that aren't the
biological father.

There are several lessons learned here -

1. Don't get married and always use protection (that means guys, don't believe her if she says she is on the pill, etc) . There is absolutely nothing to be gained by a male, by getting married. Unless of course, you as a guy are a loser, and your wife-to-be makes 10 times more (and will always make 10 times more) than your salary.
2. If you use protection, and she still ends up getting pregnant, try the abortion route. If she decides to have the child, don't get married, don't have your name entered on the birth certificate as being the father, and get a DNA test as quickly as possible.
3. If the DNA test proves you are the father, then man up, and pay the child support. BUT DON'T GET MARRIED - you've already made one mistake, why make two? Do you really want to pay alimony AND child support?
4. Don't date un-wed mothers - if she allowed herself to get pregnant the first time, it will probably happen a second time. As well, if you decide to live with her for 3 years, and act in a parental way towards her child, she could claim for child support. Exception - there is little risk if her kid is over the age of 18, but then it wouldn't really be a kid anymore, would it?


[User Picture]From: shareul
2009-01-14 12:06 am (UTC)
Yea, that comment is pretty disturbing, to say the least. Wow. Sure goes to show that money is the most important thing to some people...

I also feel pretty bad for the support-paying "father" of those girls...but he did have his suspicions about their parentage and chose to pursue parental rights instead of having that test done years ago, so I can see how he could be legally held responsible for their support.

I know that there are cases where both a natural parent and a stepparent have had to pay child support for the same child, because the stepparent showed himself willing to support that child while married to their mother, and the courts felt that the child shouldn't be deprived of that once the marriage was over. It seems a bit weird to me.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: advoir
2009-01-14 01:37 am (UTC)
I understand where the judge is coming from as far as the children are concerned. But that was an injustice committed by their mother, not the man. This ruling sets an alarming precedent, one in which single mothers are yet again shunned by society.
(Reply) (Thread)