Should fathers of children born out-of-wedlock have rights and obligations towards those children?

Posted Thursday, February 11th, 2010 by Gregory Forman
Filed under Adoption/Termination of Parental Rights, Child Custody, Child Support, Jurisprudence, Law and Culture, Not South Carolina Specific, Of Interest to General Public, Paternity

The goal of this blog is not to offend but merely to establish the following three points about the current system in which fathers of illegitimate children can demand visitation and custody rights and have imposed upon them the financial responsibilities of parenthood: 1) The current system is neither “natural” nor “uniform through history” but merely a policy choice; 2) It’s a policy choice that has obvious drawbacks, that these drawbacks were known to history and are still known in pre-industrial cultures, and that these drawbacks have reappeared under the current system; and 3) One justification for the current system–it’s a risk you incur when you have sex–completely vitiates the pro choice argument on a woman’s right to choose abortion.

Though I have no firm opinion on the subject, I sometime wonder whether our culture would be better off if we had the expectation that fathers of children born out-of-wedlock had no imposed financial obligations to support those children and no right to demand a relationship with those children.  While in 21st century America we assume that giving such fathers rights and imposing financial obligations on these fathers is somehow “natural,” I am unclear whether that actually reflects history or biology.

The history of child support laws for children born out of wedlock has vacillated from periods in which fathers of such children were required to support their out-of-wedlock children to periods in which the mother had the sole obligation of support, in both England (See Bastardy and Baby Farming in Victorian England)  and America.  See From Father’s Property To Children’s Rights: A History of Child Custody Preview.  Periods in which society did not require fathers to support their children born out-of-wedlock often justified this decision over concerns that allowing mothers to seek financial support for their children born out-of-wedlock “encouraged licentiousness and illegitimacy.”

Since the late 1960’s the now-uniform trend in America is to require fathers of children born out-of-wedlock to provide financial support for their children.  Some of the impetus for this trend was the United States Supreme Court decision in Gomez v. Perez, 409 U.S. 535 (1973), which held that once a state posits a judicially enforceable right of children to support from their natural fathers, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the state from denying that same right to illegitimate children.  The other impetus was the creation of AFDC, which led the Federal government, pursuant to 45 CFR 302.17 to require states to seek determinations of paternity and establish child support obligations for children born out-of-wedlock.  Basically AFDC paid support to mothers who bore children out-of-wedlock but then used government powers to seek reimbursement of these funds from the children’s fathers.  In South Carolina, “[a]t the 1962 Session of the General Assembly of this State, by an Act approved April 7, 1962, Section 20-303 of the Code, relating to the obligation of a man to support his wife and minor unmarried children, was amended so as to provide that a man shall support his minor unmarried children, legitimate or illegitimate.” Marshall v. Richardson, 240 S.C. 318, 323, 125 S.E.2d 639, 642 (1962).

Whether this was a unadulterated good is open to debate.  One would have thought that the decriminalization of abortion brought about by Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) would have greatly reduced the percentage of out of wedlock births but the opposite has occurred.  Instead, the trend lines in the percentages of children born out-of-wedlock since the late 1960’s would support the conclusion that requiring fathers to support these children “encouraged licentiousness and illegitimacy.”  See Changing Patterns of Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States.  Pop culture terms like “baby daddy” and “baby mama drama” support a concern that requiring folks who did not want to be married to each other to parent a child cooperatively is problematic.

Further, there is a reasonable analysis that the requirement that fathers support their children who are born out-of-wedlock is inconsistent with a woman’s right to chose abortion: if mothers can chose parenthood, why shouldn’t fathers have that same choice? “Sex” is the answer most commonly heard when that question is asked.  The claim is that it is by having sex that a man opens himself up to the potential for child support obligations: by having sex with a woman, a man loses the right to disclaim paternity if the woman ends up pregnant.  However that argument vitiates the pro choice position.  If a woman opens herself up to parenthood by the mere act of having sex, then she shouldn’t have the right to abortion.  Either the act of sexual intercourse should open up both parties to the obligations of parenthood or it should open up neither party to the obligations of parenthood.  I have never understood a logic that allows abortion on demand but requires fathers to accept the responsibility of parenthood against their will.

I am not clear what a society in which the state does not force fathers to support their out-of-wedlock children would look like.  Perhaps some of these fathers would marry the mothers to gain the rights of fatherhood.  Further, there’s a reason that the term “shotgun marriage” was more prevalent when marriage was a necessary component of a father’s legal duty to support his children (for interesting reading on the inverse relationship between out-of-wedlock births and shotgun marriages see, An Analysis of Out-Of-Wedlock Births in the United States).  Perhaps some of these fathers would support their children informally, without the necessity of a court order, with a quid-pro-quo that the mothers would allow them to have a relationship with these children.  Rather than fighting it out in court, each parent would be required to cooperate to achieve their goals.  Perhaps unmarried woman would be more careful about not getting pregnant or more likely to consider adoption (or, admittedly, abortion) if they do become pregnant.  Perhaps the culture would become more like many pre-industrial cultures in which the mother’s family provided financial support for such children rather than looking towards a father for support (this may be one of the reasons that such cultures aggressively police the chastity of unmarried daughters).  Perhaps the culture would look more like that of our closest primate relatives, in which a mother’s own mother, sisters and older daughters help with child care.  The rapid rise in out-of-wedlock births and the incredible conflict between “baby mamas” and “baby daddies” could have been predicted by an understanding of history and it is not immediately obvious that this change has been for the better.

If it is offensive to be using the state’s coercive police powers to make pregnant women become mothers, it should be equally offensive to use those same powers to make men who impregnate women become fathers.  The current policy encourages the bearing of children out-of-wedlock which destabilizes family formation.  I have a thesis that the unacknowledged but primary current goal of family law is not to encourage the stable formation of families (and allow the orderly dissolution of unstable families) but actually to insure that children and dependant spouses do not become wards of the state.  The way the law has developed to handle support obligations for children born out-of-wedlock is some of the primary evidence I have to support this thesis.

41 thoughts on Should fathers of children born out-of-wedlock have rights and obligations towards those children?

  1. Jill says:

    Very interesting and thought-provoking article! This should be open for discussion, regardless of the outcome, so I appreciate the initiative.

    1. Brandon says:

      I am a father in sc that has visitation and believes that it is unfair to the child to not have atleast equal time with both parents. Both mothers and fathers play a big role in there childs life no matter if the child was born out of wedlock or marriage. I pick my son up every other weekend for visitation, and when i get him he is so excited and so happy that he leaps and tries to jump and wiggle away from his mothers arms, but when i go to take him home or try to put him in the truck on a sunday at 6 pm (when my visitation is up) he goes blistic, he cries his head off and screams. Ive been to DSS and they tell me im just a jealous parent. I’ve asked the mother numerous times if something was wrong or going on that i needed to know about and i just get left in the dark. I believe that a child should have equal time because im one of those dads starving for time with my son, im ready to take him fishing, go fourwheeling, play football, play basketball, just spend time with my son that he needs and every other weekend to a dad thats very willing to be a father and looking forward to having that time with his son and a son that is starving for time with his dad

      1. sam says:

        I think your child is being a child. You should have him one night every week for his stablility then. Toddlers change a lot and kids should be in the same bed everynight as much as possible. That makes them act out. Mom might just have more strict rules than you. Wish you luck. Be patient & go to court if you follow thru for your child every time u see him.

  2. California observer says:

    Classic post! I totally concur with your conclusion, that the “primary current goal of family law is…to actually to insure that children and dependant spouses do not become wards of the state.” Yup.

    An even better illustration of that: in many states, a random guy can incorrectly but officially be labelled a baby’s father (perhaps he was never served the paternity papers, hence wasn’t able to dispute the claim at the beginning). Once he IS officially “the father” in the eyes of the law, a judge deciding to rescind that decision decides the rescinsion based not on the facts of fatherhood, but on “the best interests of the child.” And if the mother is poor, it’s often in the best interests of the child for this random guy to continue to pay support for a kid who is demonstrably NOT HIS….so the law demands he continue. The law demands a non-father pay support, JUST to lighten the load on the state.


  3. Father of Girls says:

    When I read this blog entry, I immediately related it to the questions you posed in “Less Adultery = More Divorce?” I believe in both cases there is a third factor at play that influences these situations. The pendulum has swung too far in the favor of womens rights in the last 50 years and instead of creating a sense of empowerment and responsibility in women, it has created a sense of entitlement.

    Speaking in generalities, let’s take a look at the adultery/divorce issue for a moment. Men have learned through the courts and media to take more responsibility for their own adulterous behavior because the alternative is the possible loss of home, family and significant income – hence decreased adultery in men. Where as, in this same timeframe, women have learned through the courts and media, that they are the victims of men and therefore can maintain a relatively similar lifestyle if their husbands cheat, raise their voice or do not conform to their wishes. Laws are in place (VAWA) to ensure women are protected from these monsters we call men and there is no accountability for their own actions. Remember that I am speaking in generalities because I understand that there are domestically violent situations, but anyone involved in the court system knows that these new laws are being used by women and their attorneys to gain advantages in divorces.

    Now let’s look at the issues in this blog entry. Women have choices, but men do not have that same choices. The court and media tells men that they should take more responsibility in their choice to have unprotected sex, but women will be protected if the man impregnates her with the choice of abortion or support. We are dealing with yet another instance where there is a sense of entitlement for women versus a sense of responsibility. If a women chooses to start a family alone, shouldn’t one of the criteria be that she can support and care for this family? If a man finds out that he got someone pregnant, shouldn’t he have the same right to decide if he is ready?

    If my tone sounds bitter, it is not because I am a man, but rather because I am a father of girls and I am forced to educate them continuously as to the messages they receive from the media, girls, women and mothers. It is a message of entitlement and it scares me for them. I have done what I can to make sure they understand that these are not issues that impact just men or women, but more importantly they impact families, children and self.

    We are no better off today then we were 50 years ago, we simply shifted the advantage to women. At the same time, our country has lost its sense of community which helped to keep many behaviors in check in years past. If the courts, government and people want to improve our society, they could begin with the simplest form of civilization – the family. We need to start putting the focus on the viability of the family over the individuals.

  4. MJ Goodwin says:

    That is certainly thought provoking. Don’t you think it’s too late to turn back now? I see a vision on the horizon of the Court overruling the presumption of legitimacy. It’s a shame really. Judge Epps used to say that what is wrong with the world is that people aren’t ashamed anymore, of anything. Judge Epps was a wise judge

  5. MJ Goodwin says:

    I agree that our society is deteriorating. The decline of the family is a large part of that. People give up too easily. People want what feels good, right now. Forget consequences. No shame. Part of this is a result of the political correctness that somehow over took us. People are too easily offended when confronted with their own irresponsibility.

  6. T. Harper Collins, Esq. says:

    Very brilliant and thought provoking. I will debate this theory will other bright legal minds. Keep up the good work, love the blog.

  7. Miss Farnaby says:

    This seems rather obvious to me. Be that as it may, I must say that it makes me VERY ANGRY to see so many people, men and women, be so irresponsible in their lives as to not make just “one mistake” but five, six, seven, or more “mistakes.”

    I was self-supporting by the time I turned seventeen. I married, ONCE, at 21-22. I was married for nearly a quarter of a century to the same man, but we never had any children. Why? First off, we considered what it would cost to give ONE child a good education, and this means beyond high school. We would not put one of our animals in public schools, as they are so horrible, so why would we put a child in one? Forget the cost of private primary and secondary education. Just consider the cost of a B.A. or B.S. at a really good university, not to mention graduate work. THAT is all it takes to make any thinking couple, married or not, decide not to risk bringing a child into the world, never mind all of the other many reasons.

    My husband and I were both educated professionals who, together, made a decent income, enough to purchase a decent home in a relatively unpolluted, low-crime, green city. Nevertheless, considering the cost of raising and educating ONE child, we opted not to have children. Now, what I cannot understand or accept are these individuals (and I am primarily addresssing women here), who not only have ONE baby which they cannot afford to feed, house, educate, etc., but have many more than one.

    Each fall, I sadly watch the local news reporters report on the parents of children who have shown up to receive free school supplies for their children because they cannot afford to purchase the supplies themselves. In the wide world, a few school supplies for one, or even five, children are not that expensive. So, if one cannot afford paper, pencils, paste, etc., for one child, why in the name of sweet charity do they have one child after another. I cannot stand to watch any more.

    A couple of years ago I watched one woman in her late twenties to early thirties with SEVEN children, most or all by different fathers, show up to collect school supplies for her children who, of course, were all in awful public schools. This sort of thing makes me want to tear out my hair! What is wrong with people like this? Obviously something is wrong. Should the rest of society bear the burden of feeding, clothing, educating, and eventually, medicating and incarcerating these poor children?! Sorry to anyone who may think I am being unkind herein, but the statistics show from where the majority of people in prisons originate, and the majority of them are from impoverished backgrounds, whether born out of wedlock or not.

    All of this is greatly complicated by the problem of illegal aliens in the U.S., too. I ADVIDLY support civil rights, human rights, and the rest, but I think it is wrong, wrong, wrong to allow illegals to come into the U.S. from Mexico, or any place else, and have children here, illegal births or not, which are Americans by virtue of having been born here. If the parents are illegals, then the children should NOT be considered American citizens just because they are born on Americna soil. It is plain STUPID, and Arizona is correct in taking the measures it has so recently adopted.

    This is not some abstract discussion either, people. Today, I visited my “new” hair stylist (second time I used her serivces). This young woman is bright and has a good personality. She is barely into her twenties, and she is seven months pregnant. She lives with the child’s father. They are not married, and apparently they have no plans to marry. She has a hole in heart (literally), and so her pregnancy is more complicated than most. She has to see three specialists regularly. Who is paying for all of this? Medicaid. Who pays for medicaid? Every tax payer.

    I felt like asking her why should would ALLOW herself to become pregnant in an age where it is totally preventable; moreover, why is not the chap who impregnated her not marrying her and providing for herself and the child.? Of course, the reality is I can say nothing other than to wish her well. On my way home, however, I thought to myself, “her life is over even if this is the ONLY child she has with this chap. If she has more, the more hellish will be all their lives.” These men and women seem to have no idea of what it costs, in EVERY sense of the word, to raise a child, and I believe it makes those of us who lived our lives in a responsible manner feel as though we have been punished for doing so. I was taught responsibility, as was my husband, and we both lived our lives responsibly, but I have to ask now, “so what?” What has been the greatest reward for our responsible behaviour? Perhaps it is only a reduction in the daily stress and sadness that these people face. Our reward definitely was NOT financial.

    I am sorry to say that I am both astonished and ashamed of these women, and I am a woman. Of course, shame of the men is a foregone conclusion, but for women to allow this happen to themselves makes me embarrassed of my sex. What should be done? Well, the answer to that is very, very complex on many levels, but I tend to agree with China’s policy. In the U.S., however, all of the society has to pay for stupidity and irresponsibility of these men and women, and many, many of us are sick of it!! Therefore, yes, your thesis seems abundantly correct. The courts reflect the views of responsibly people everywhere—we do not want the financial responsibility for men who cannot “keep it in their pants,” or stupid women who entertain these men without birth control. Personally, I am SICK of excuses. I lived my whole life without getting pregnant, and so did a lot of the women I know, and if we could do it, then the rest of the population could do it, too, and if they will not do it, then woe be until the poor children they irresponsibly bring into the world, and woe be unto the responsible adults every where.

    1. responsible mom says:

      I totally agree with your comments!! I am so tired to see people raising their kids like rabbit even they have no means to pay for it.. focus on QUALITY, not quantiy!!

    2. arnold henriques says:

      Dear madam, if looked at all you have said from the financial point of view you are having lots of passengers in your bus, every thing is ideal and payed for.My question is does your view starts with regulation of freedom to have children by income, and where would the brakes be applied?Having kids is a natural result of sex (unprotected) I should say sex is viewed as a result a male and a female agreement to have sex.It you take your guidelines to a next calculating level it would mean that couples would use their calculators in the bedroom more often than at the grocery.You have to admit that very poor people should not be restricted because of their economic situation not with China laws and not with bragging of those that can manage their emotions, and defer having a child untill they can more than afford it.I have a question, what would you do if North Correa invades the us with some 7 milion soldiers they have at hand no nuclear event just men and women swarming beaches and New York buildings on a killing spree.If it happened 30 years from now we would not be able to use you nor your husband to put bodies in body baggs.What I want to illustrate with this absurd but not impossible scenario that math is not everything.Thank God it community is not ordered in the direction you are indicating, otherwise eugenics would be policy of Presidents Bush Bush Clinton Obama would be high priority abroad aswell as well as in the USAS

    3. KP says:

      LOL. So just not to have child’s expenses, you preferred not to have children? It is insane. My husband and I are highly educated professionals anddd still with high demanding career, raised three children, who are well educated and holds hgh positions. You couple without children think they have nicer life. Money is not important in life. Your own somebody is important and in your old age, someone can help you, even if you dont need help. You experience pregnancy, child birth, enjoy their laugh-after stressful work day, one smile of a child makes you happy. Not all children are bad and yes. it all depends on parents caring , upbringing and instilling good values make all the difference. I laugh when couple takes care of pets but decides not to have a burden of caring of child! Pathetic. What is wrong? Remember, your parents decided to have children and that is why you are here. Even you have one child or 2 children, that is not expensive. It is less expensive than having the pets. Eveyone in this country is able to get food, clothes, frree education and even with simple life, they can be happy as long as they live within their means. The problems starts when couple wants more and more money and competes with the society.

  8. docintalk says:

    its great posting here….
    if both adults agree for to have sex and the female becomes pregnant intentionally or by accident if the laws of the country where abortion has no limitations the mother while in early pregnancy bears choice and by that if the baby is conceived out of wedlock pregnant female partner can choose to abort and should abort especially if father is not ready to bear any further responsibility for the baby. Consensual intercourse as needs biological obligation on both sides if accident happens and female ends up pregnant should also have male partner to decide if he is ready for responsibilities rather then having baby born and imposing all financial burden for parenting on male partner who would be reluctantly punished for the deed where there involved consensual sexual relation ship by both adult individuals.
    If seen at large because laws lean more towards protection of such child born out of wedlock its not uncommon to see the female counterpart taking much potential benefit by mothering baby and pouring financial burden for herself and baby born where male partner asks for different path of not having such baby born in first place. In modern world where female counterparts are considered equal and bears same potential should also bear same responsibilities to nurture baby if they desire to give birth to and not ask for any financial support from the male counterpart involved if he is not willing and is unprepared to bear the burden because of various reasons.
    Its just biological difference in both sex that makes females to bear babies and nurture before the baby is born but if considered in terms of sex both partners enjoys the same pleasure and if they dont then the sexual relationship should not be established in first place.
    asking for financial support for a baby born when either of the adult counterpart involved in conception does not agree to bear responsibility should also be viewed equally and should be left to choice for both rather than either individuals to decide that the child should be born or not if legally or religiously not restricted to abortion rights. there should be equal choice, rights and responsibilities for both gender counterparts for babies born. if male wants the child to be born and female carries pregancy untill child birth its male partners responsibility to take over responsibility for the child thats born and the otherway round should also be true.

  9. COLLEEN says:

    i was married and had two children with my husband but my marriage ended in divorce which was very hard for me because i personally dont believe in divorce and would have choosen to work out our issues which werent that bad to me anyway.just another case of the man not being front and center after our children were he found someone else while i was pregnant with his child with a high risk pregnancy .so because we were married he had alot of rights .and i regretted that the next time around i decided not to marry the father of my child for that reason alone because i knew he would not get the same rights because we werent married .and i think i made a great decesion because that relationship ended also .the only down side to that is i know have children with different last names and i think that is harder on the children when they are in school .there are alot of good men out there but there are more bad than good .they dont want to pay support and then i get accused of using his money for my own enjoyment which is not true but if thats what he thinks i say let it be .life is too short to waste it on people who dont matter even if they are the father of my child

    1. alley says:

      I am with you. My child was not born in wedlock and definatly was not a “mistake” as many people responding seem to want to call children born out of wedlock. Enough with the stereo typing already! My child has a father who wants all of the right of fatherhood but none of the responsibility! I recieve no support from him or the state. I raise him on my own and am proud of the fact that I am able to do so. What I am angered about is that if I feel his house is not a safe place to be and don’t let him go, it will be held against me in court. Isn’t it my job as a mother to protect him???

  10. Laws are laws says:

    Either way you look at it someone gets left out of the decision to abort or have a child whether married or not. What if a couple are married and disagree on a child being born and it destroys their marriage and the man doesn’t want to take responsibility for the child financially or emotionally? I don’t think a man should only have to support legitimate children because legitimate or not its still their child. Women are USUALLY the one who ends up raising the child for the most even after a marriage doesn’t work out and some men remarry and occasionally visit their previous children. Therefor, I feel it should be the mothers choice to have the child or not.

  11. joe borras says:

    I need to know what the law states in regards to an adult male impregnating a minor. Does he have rights to custody?

  12. charlene says:

    why should my child have the fathers last name is he marrying the child or the woman?????????

  13. joe borras says:

    my question is, does a man who is going to jail for statutory rape have parental rights to the child?

    1. S.C. Code § 63-7-2570(11), states “Conception of a child as a result of the criminal sexual conduct of a biological parent, as found by a court of competent jurisdiction, is grounds for terminating the rights of that biological parent, unless the sentencing court makes specific findings on the record that the conviction resulted from consensual sexual conduct where neither the victim nor the actor were younger than fourteen years of age nor older than eighteen years of age at the time of the offense.”

      Since this man was convicted of statutory rape he could have his parental rights terminated if he was over the age of eighteen when the rape occurred.

  14. brightbicyclist says:

    I am a 40yo professional woman. I met a 50yo male that seemed to want to have a family. After I got pregnant, he became hostile. He proceeded to sue me for custody (a very costly process) of my infant daughter born out of wedlock. For the custody evaluation, he inflated his income and net worth. He didn’t pay anything towards the cost of raising my daughter. After I was declared officially the better parent, he claimed to be impoverished. The referee stated that proof of his income was “out of scope of referee format.” I continue to hold a solid part time job 20 hours per week and am able to support myself and my daughter, although modestly. My one year old is being subject to a schedule back and forth. Is the law really looking out for her best interests? I’d like to know what and how I can make things better for my daughter.

    1. USCG Gal says:

      Congratulations on your little girl. No matter the circumstances of birth, I’m happy you decided to embrace motherhood. It takes much courage. Saying yes to motherhood is synonymous with a vow of poverty in America.

      3 suggestions
      1. Acquire small business skills and create your own job. It’s the pragmatic way around employers with rigid terms and conditions incompatible with child rearing.
      2. The 2nd amendment (including martial arts training) is not someone else’s job. It is your own. BJS statistics: “Homicides of intimates by race and gender of victim 1976- 2005”. Male hostility all in the imagination of white women? No Ma’am.
      3. The answer to your question is already answered in this thread. Children and common decency are collateral damage to profiteers of strife. Exhibit A & B; the very basis of this thread, punctuated by replies from men claiming to have daughters yet speak of public policy in terms of protecting dysfunctional males by applying legislation to their daughters. Judge for yourself.

  15. Kevin says:

    Thank you for posting such an insightful, thought provoking, masterpiece! This is an issue I have been dealing with since I was barely 21 and have lived a life of agony because I thought, nobody really “got it”.
    I had a one night stand after a long night of drinking that turned into a personal hell that still haunts me. The other party had moved to another state when she notified me that her oven was baking and assured me during the call that she was going it alone, she just felt obligated to inform me. Mind you, when I inquired about her financial situation etc., she said she was living with her mom in a trailer park and both were unemployed but she’d make it and abortion wasn’t an option.
    After that 5 minute call, I wished I’d had a gun in the house because I wanted to leave this life.
    Fortunately, I was about to start college so my mind was always occupied. Well wouldn’t you know it, on the day the baby was born she called me from the hospital at my dorm. How she got my number I haven’t a clue. Anyway, she told me she had the kid and I was like, so what, I didn’t want it and am not interested from hearing from you, EVER.
    Well, you can imagine what came next, papers from her state collecting the good old child support. Since I was paying my own way through school, I got another job on top of the one I had and paid. But a month didn’t go by and she was complaining to me about how she hadn’t gotten her money and come to find out, it takes time for the state to process it through the “system”. So, I’m already feeling shameful and bullied, and agree to pay her outside the system as a nice gesture. I didn’t want my family to find out or anyone I knew so I did what I could to keep her quiet.
    Keep in mind, I did not want a kid, any kid and couldn’t afford it neither could she. During a phone conversation one night about two years later, I asked her why? Her reply, because I didn’t know if I would ever have the chance to have a kid. WTF?? Anyway, I finished college in 4 years and began a nice career continuing to pay her, even increasing the payments way beyond what was court ordered. I managed the relationship to keep her out of my pocketbook as much as possible and turned down the numerous requests to become involved.
    No the good part. Less than 2 months after the kids 18 birthday I get a letter from her state notifying me that I owed her over 30K and payment was due immediately! Her story is that she inadvertently signed a paper that she thought was directed at her OTHER baby daddy! Yeah right, Well I flew off the handle and proceeded to gather all the information I could on this subject to help myself. She admitted to me that yes I had paid faithfully, but she still felt entitled to the 30K.
    Thanks to fathers for equal rights I was able to go to her state and visit the AG with her one day and get immediately in and have her sign off on the whole thing for a 5K settlement.
    The lady at the AG was a joke and a fine example of what’s wrong with the “system”. She made it very clear how “lucky” she thought I was..
    5 years later I still want nothing to do with the kid and never will, it’s like 23 now and I’m free and clear, but don’t come knocking on my door, ever! . The “system” has hardened me to the point I took action to ensure I could never be controlled like this ever again, all for a $15 copay.
    Anyway, it’s refreshing to see I’m not alone and to read some of the more intelligent posts. I’ve always stated, the system always benefits women today without acknowledging a guys rights. We become criminal like in the courts eyes and it has to stop. Children born out of wedlock cause all kinds of costs to society, hard and soft.


  16. tturim says:

    Wow! allot of good information on this site. I am shocked at how unattached Kevin is in his story. I do however understand that he did not want to be involved in a custody dispute and commend him on taking the steps to support his chid. However, what I don’t understand is that he never wanted to develope a relationship with his child at any point in the childs life, and goes on to say don’t knock on my door. It seems you have decided to hate your own child and want nothing to do with him/her as you relate to it as it! Your child is a product of you and your mindframe and the ability to just turn off emotionally to a child that is your own blood is the reason why women prosper in the courts with custody, ect… Men are not connected to their chidren the way that women are, women carry the child for 9 months it changes their bodies and the child instinctively knows and is bonded to them. I don’t believe that a father should be made reponsible for child support without having the decission that they want to bring a child into the world, yet when a man takes a women to court and demands equal rights and custody, they should have to pay because it is taking away from the children and their lives and future finances that could have and would have been spent on them and not to lawyers and judges. I do hope that you find somewhere in your heart to stop hating your (it) for his/her existense, they didn’t ask to be brought into this world and didn’t do anything to you to deserve such hate. Maybe the bio mom did, but your (it) did not, why would you want to punish that person because of your mistake and the fact that you hated the mother for causing financial problems in your life? One day you will meet your maker and what then will you say? I pray for you that you meet your child with an open heart (not wallet) and you will see how much (it) is like you even though you haven’t been there, the dna is there, and you might just find the best friend and most rewarding feelings that you have kept yourself from all of these years. You will get older and start thinking back and thinking about these things. Best wishes, and many prayers for you.

  17. You think that is thought provoking? says:

    I came across this blog while surfing for some general information about this topic. Now While I may not personally believe in abortion, the points brought up with the legal issues and differences about this were quite interesting. NOW YOU THINK THAT IS THOUGHT PROVOKING what about this: My husband and I have been married for almost seven years… Long story short we both wanted children really bad and had two right away, were happy and content with a boy and girl and due to health problems on my part and traveling so much with my husband being in the military we have chosen to not have any more children. Now when we met I did learn of his background ( at seventeen wasn’t that bad!! ) and I knew of one of his ex girlfriends that had told him she was pregnant and hurt him pretty bad ( he wanted a baby as much as I did at this point) however, this girl who was two girlfriends back found out she was pregnant. He was super excited and began preparing for this child ( probably to support her to he is like that ) after a few weeks she told him that the baby was not his and she was leaving to go be with the father. He was heart broken ( but believed it b/c due to a circumcision issue he wasn’t able to produce any fluid that he was aware of. ) He still chased after her and she basically moved out of town and was not to be seen or heard of to him until guess when? Don’t you just love social networks…. well lets just say our life looks very glamorous ( dont get me wrong we are very blessed) but not rich by any means. We are stationed in Hawaii and as you can imagine that makes for some very beautiful family pictures and lifestyle. So to my wildest dreams she just up and writes me one day and starts off by introducing herself as the mother of his he didnt know it at the time but it was a daughter… Seems the daddy she ran off with and MARRIED before the child was born ( presumption of paternity, I believe ) had recently divorced her and was getting re married himself. And she just wanted to make sure she wasnt going to have to feel bad about keeping her daughter from her real daddy for ever??? So she was giving him a chance ( after 7 years plus ) to be a part of her life… WHAT??? now this is so irritating. The thing is this girl made the CHOICE of who she wanted to be the daddy and after 7 years that didnt work out so decided to choose the other way. And now our lives and our childrens lives potentially are going to be turned all upside down, and why because they had sex. He was willing and happy to do his part, she took that away from him, and now she wants to completely change our family dynamic. I am a religious woman and this is VERY hard for me. I truly want to do the right thing here, but like this article what is right? God even told Abrahams Maiden who born his child to hit the road when she started issues in his ” family dynamic” Also this childs father that she has know has always been her father she said he is there for her 100 % and gets visitation and everything, so she isn’t just disrupting one household by the way. With all the moral issues aside, it just frustrates me that 7 years ago he was trying to do the right thing and she took that right away from him and now If it is made to be proven he could have to financially support her. I just don’t see how women could hold all the power like that. I dont know, I just saw this blog and it was the first thing that was even close to making sense to me. Im sorry for all my grammar issues I know this is a very intelligent forum, but I just had to vent somewhere. Please excuse my mistakes, I am a very tired mother of two young ones and very stressed thinking about this subject. Any thoughts would be appriciated ( although I see this was written over a year ago!!! Thanks

    1. responsible mom says:

      I feel your frustration. I am in the same boat and my situation is even worse.

      10 years ago, my husband(he was single ) had a fling with this woman in Europe. She claimed that she was German and IMPLIED she was younger than him. She was attractive of course that was why he ended up having sex with her while she told him she was on pill. The bad part was that he believed her. Now thinking back it was a trap that he just walked straight in. After a few dates, she started bossing him around. He ended up breaking up with her because of that. A few weeks later she came by and notified him that she was pregnant and demanded for a marriage. That didn’t go well. He begged her for abortion and the woman didn’t budge. She left and swore that she would keep child for herself, and not to bother him apart sending child support money. Everyone is having their own life and not to cross the line, ritht? So things moved on and he has a happy family of his own with loving wife. We haven’t heard from this woman since. Now, as if they are out of woods- apparently the woman changes her mind-she is now demanding more money so she can put the child in private school (my husband and I work very hard and our own children go to public school), also she demands US citizship for the child – it turned out the woman is Brazilian with german accestor and 8 years older than my husband! Now you can see it was a trap from way beginning- she had her agenda! She is just so pathetic and without shame!! She and the kid now live in Brazil. The woman is demanding my husband to visit the child in Brazil every year for two weeks WITH HER PRESENCE. I personally don’t think the visitation is outrageou.. HOWEVER, because of her past behaviours and conducts(she is such a bitch), it makes me fear it will lead to a disaster once we got hooked on. I feel sorry for the child. But if we give in, our life(quiet, normal and happy) will be totally turned upside down subject to this woman’s wishes and demands- you know she will have no problem or shame to use the child as bargain chip. She blamed that he is the cause of their misery. But I am a woman too. I was young for once and I did some stupid things when I was young- like most of us. But I didn’t pin a man for marriage by getting pregnant! I don’t want to have a child out of wedlock- it is not fair for the kid, not fair for myself!! For the record, she was 36 when she had this child- you would think being 35 years old, it is better to have some good judgement! Otherwise, it is just so obviously STUPID!! So frankly I NEVER understand and ACCEPT that a woman wants to have a child regardless the biological father’s objection and protest. This issue is still going on. Because of this, my husband and I have a couple of neuclear level fights and engaged couple counselling. My friend suggested to me to move on and accept the fact. But honestly, I just cann’t tolerate that MY life will be bossed around by this woman – she has no problem to use the kid to play game. I just feel sorry for the kid who probably wants to know the truth- only discovers later the truth is ugly and full of lies by her own mother!! I want to find peace in my heart but every time when I think about, it is JUST SO IRRITATING AND FRUSTRATING!! It is good for me to see your post, making me feel I am not along. We are mother of daughters and we need to raise our children in good way- not like these bad women. They made stupid and bad decisions and they have other people living for the consequence…

      1. You think that is thought provoking? says:

        Thank you so much for the share. I feel so alone in this situation sometimes, I am a religious person I know God is always with me and I am thankful for that. But on the human understanding part besides my husband of coarse no one is quite sure what to say or feel about our situation. Both of our situations have so many complicated parts and considerations. It would seem morally it is open and shut, be a part of the child’s life. But it actually isn’t that cut and dry, both children have had lives away from these men ( at the discretion and allowance of their mothers ) and even trying to do the right thing will always be overshadowed by what ever the mothers choose to tell these girls. The girls are only going to know what they are taught and trust the person that has been there always ( hopefully been around ) and especially girls trust their mothers. So even if they tried to be involved right now that is going to just confuse them anyways. Also one of my biggest concerns is the control issues from the other mothers as well. We do not run our house on control but rather love and respect. I am not comfortable having another woman try and control my household and with a child like a piece of property. Once again this is not the childs fault but in situations like these what can be done to help the child even that wouldnt be hard on them as well? Some people say you think this is hard, think about the women that their husbands are already married when these children are made. Yes, I am very thankful the question here isnt during our time together, and my heart goes out to everyone in that situation as well. However, this situation presents its own problems as well. I do wonder in your situation if he can even be forced to finncially support this child being across the borders and such or can even be made to take a paternity test? ( not that that fixes the moral obligation what ever that is????? ) but this woman might not have as much right as she believes, And I imagine you dont want an actual test as much as I dont because of the official part of it and the financial obligations that follows, but has he even done a paternity test ? My husband has not but these women seem to be questionable in other ways what makes their word of who the father is the truth?

        One other side note: what is with the amount of child support ordered for some children all about anyways. I have seen families who have to support their whole family on the amount they have to fork out to their other ” baby mommas” if they want support get married for goodness sake, and then its fair game, and they say ” i just want my child taken care of” well if that was true then they would have provided a family structure for their child. Money doesn’t properly raise children, it just makes them bargaining pieces.

        1. responsible mom says:

          I feel your pain. Unfortunately the law has given the woman so many rights and entitlements which is unblievable, even for woman overseas as long as the father is US citizen under the international treaty. I know the law was made for good reasons but it goes too far and now is abused by these women right and left.

          I feel sorry for these men who involuntarily ended up in this miserable situation. They are worse than sperm donor! At least the sperm donor doesn’t have to pay hefty child support. Now not only their personal life is haunted by the mess forever, but also the life of their new family!

          To forgive what she did is REALLY REALLY hard and honestly I am not at the stage of trying. I learnt from this issue though that staying strong in a relationship with your spouse at this stage is very important. Remember the best gift you give your children is that parents love each other and we have a solid happy family. Kids are watching us and learning from our relationship behaviours. Don’t let this get into your way too much at least I am trying! May God be with you and I will pray for you and your family!

  18. beth says:

    The reason women can choose to have sex and an abortion doesn’t have anything to do with parental responsibilies. It has to do with carrying the child and giving birth and the dangers involved. If a man’s life were in jeopardy everytime a woman got pregnant it would change things. But they arnt so it doesn’t.

  19. beth says:

    Just because women have children born out of wedlock that does not mean she is using the child as a paycheck as this entire article implies. It is absurd. This is America. Not everyone’s values are the same as yours. That doesn’t mean they are worse or leaching off of the system. Many women are just lonely. And many men do nothing but have sex get drunk and play video games. Many people don’t believe that marraige is a good idea. Divorce is expensive and hard. Not to mention the number of children of divorced parents have a complete and total lack of faith in the institution. Love and sex do not come from logic law or faith. And to compare them to each other is senseless. Maybe the laws should just catch up with the times instead of declaring all illegitimate children and their mothers the places where crime and poverty and bills to the state come from. Conservative Sexist Garbage.

    1. Robin says:

      Beth, you are missing the point! While I agree with much of what you say, it still does not diminish the fact that men are getting emotionally and financially rapped in record numbers by predatory women who use the most sacred thing (A CHILD) too do this… if a man rapes a woman, he is punished severely, so should not the same be true of a woman who rapes a man emotionally and turns him into a slave and abuses him with his own child again and again and again? Most of this prison is created by lies, I stopped believing most women after something similar happened too me. I was lied too then rapped (yes, because we were suppose too get married and she had no intention of doing so) so rape is what it is… rape for my seed and listening too women go on about Deadbeat dads is truly the most nauseating nonesense I have heard in my life!

  20. joe borras says:

    Thank you, that answers my question. The man that raped my 15 year old daughter was turning 20, 3months after the act. He was convicted of one count of unlawful intercourse. The police and the D.A. did nothing about him stealing her money or the fact that he gave 3 minor girls a performance drink with alcohol. I am happy to see he will not have rights to the baby even if we get social services to help us.

    1. You might want to look to S.C. Code § 63-7-2570 subsection eleven which authorizes termination of parental rights when:

      Conception of a child as a result of the criminal sexual conduct of a biological parent, as found by a court of competent jurisdiction, is grounds for terminating the rights of that biological parent, unless the sentencing court makes specific findings on the record that the conviction resulted from consensual sexual conduct where neither the victim nor the actor were younger than fourteen years of age nor older than eighteen years of age at the time of the offense.

  21. Victim of Stalker says:

    This article is well-written and thought-provoking. I know, as I am the wife of a man that had a child out-of-wedlock. Although, we were not married at the time the child was conceived. I didn’t know my future husband at the time.

    While I agree and support a woman to do what she feels is best for her health, both mentally and physically, I think that with that choice, there are consequences. Before a legal abortion was an option, the choice to have an unlawful abortion was a very dangerous and sometime deadly choice. However, now it seems that a woman holds all the options and is responsible for the outcome of her choice. Whereby, a woman can choose abortion, keeping the child or adoption. In addition, in some cases marry and have a real father for her child.With these multitude of choices, there should be choices for a man. I think as long as a woman has these choices, there should be a more progressive movement and forward thinking for this to be equitable for both a man and a woman, in terms of choices.

    I am in no way advocating that a man have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body , however, I do not believe that a brief
    encounter should constitute a lifetime of commitment. After all, they met in a bar and were both drinking. He wouldn’t have met her otherwise.

    In our situation, the woman of the child born out-of-wedlock filed a lawsuit to receive a substantial amount of child support from my husband and in addition, she also tried to get me, an innocent party, to pay her to help support her child. She tried to get both family and friends, to take pity on her and her child. Some people did put up a pretense and were drawn in out of pity only. That isn’t a good feeling for the child as I am sure that they both, mother and child, have come to realize that these relationships were just gratuitous and without any real substance. We always found it ironic that the same people that took pity on the mother, had always thought she was classless and were embarrassed by her actions and inactions.

    I was a real estate agent at the time, and the woman of the child, had arranged for her friend to make fake appointments with me to view properties for sale and rent. Another “friend” and his wife told me in advance of one of the fake appointments. She would walk by our home and have other people make inquiries into our daily activities. At first we were angry and then we started to understand that she was suffering from a lack of a life of her own. My husband always, from the beginning, told me that he thought he would never have to see her again and then months later, only to find out that she was pregnant. She thought she could sale him on the idea of marrying her, however that was never going to happen. He told her he wasn’t attracted to her mentally or physically. Although, he admits he made a terrible mistake and wouldn’t wish for anyone to go through an ordeal like this. She seemed to be oblivious that he didn’t want her and was hanging onto her perception of a real relationship. It is our understanding that she is still lonely and the child has minimal contact with her, other than to get money when needed.

    What this woman wanted most of all was to have a husband, my husband, and was not really concerned for the child. The whole time we were involved in this legal proceeding, I kept thinking that if this were my child, I would be more concerned for the well-being of my child. After all, this was a choice that she made to go it without a father for her child. She went to great lengths to destroy our lives and cause us pain. What she really did for us was to make us stronger and our resolve to not involve our children with any of this. Some people disagree with our decisions, however, it was our choice and we did what was best for our family.

  22. reality check says:

    i came across this blog when i was researching fathers rights and responsibilities and here is the REAL realty of these types of situations…..I am a 32 year old married woman. when i was 20 i had a relationship with a man that wasn’t serious and we were sleeping together. i knew this relationship wasnt goin anywhere so i ended it. we still continued to sleep together sometimes but were not committed to each other. well one day while at work i get a call from this person’s girlfriend who this person had lived with and just had a baby…i was shocked and i told her that me and him had been in a relationship but now just was sleeping together. it really upset me because my period had been late and i was hoping i wasnt pregnant. well it turned out that i was pregnant. i contacted him and told him and he asked if i was goin to keep it and he said he would support my decision either way. i decided to keep my baby and he said he would be there for me and the baby. his girlfriend had a huge problem with that and she began stalking me so bad to the point where i had to actually make a police report against her. when i was pregnant i had a full time job and my own place and health insurance. My pregnancy became high risk and i had to go on early maternity leave. my funds ran out and i had to apply for public assistance to get by until i was able to go back to work. he was there at the hospital when i delivered and his girlfriend found out and actually called my hospital room so bad until the nurses had to block all incoming call into my room. i delivered and went back to worked even before the normal six weeks after delivery. when i go back to work i got contacted from the state saying that i have to go and file for child support because i had received state funds. i went and filled out all of the paperwork and gave his information. they contacted him and he signed a voluntary paternity acknowledgment. after that i was contacted again to go to court and i explained to the state that i could not afford to take off work anymore because i had been off long enough already and he was not working so he would not be able to pay anything anyway. they kept calling me at work telling me that i had to go to court to help them get him for child support and then if i wouldnt then they would cut my states funds. I told them that i was no longer receiving state funds because i am back working. they said that they would have my taxes garnished because i would not help them get their money back for child support. they even sent me a letter wanting me to sign a paper to agree for me to pay them back. He attempted to try to have a relationship with our child but his girlfriend would always cause problems and he just stopped. i can’t blame him for the choice he made because i had disrupted the life he had with his girlfriend by choosing to have his child. we both were careless but it was my lone decision to keep the child. i allow him to make his own choices as to whether he wants to be in childs life or not. he calls my child every blue moon. she knows who he is. i have been married for three years and with my husband for almost 5. He is a great stepfather to my child and treats her as if she were his own. My daughter never asks about her real father and is happy to have her stepfather in her life. the government was only concerning about getting there money back and was not concerned with the well being of my child. the government gives the women the right to chose so the government should have to pay the support. many years ago men were able give up their rights to a child so they would not have to pay child support but that has now changed, but why??????? a man should not be forced to be responsible for a child that he did not want and when you try to force it creates “baby mama drama”. women need to accept that because you are the one who will bear a child then you are responsible for that child. it is in no way fair to the man and the child will suffer the most if they are exposed to these unstable , unhealthy situations. All people are flawed and make mistakes but you need to learned from them. when women are having kids and having the state take care of them, the state then goes after the father when its really these laws that make these situations. just because a man pays child support it doesnt mean he is supporting his child. what about all of those women who makes sure their hair and nails are done and they have nice clothes but their kids are needing stuff? they are getting money from the state and money from child support but at what point do we make these women step up make them support their own children? if you chose single parenthood they be a single parent. I did it. many other women do it. it starts with the woman and man who slept together. how can you hold a man accountable but not the woman? if the government allows a woman to chose to have a child then the father should have that choice to be involved or not. if they were allow men to opt of if they dont want that child then the government should have to pay for it and then thats when they need to come down on women who make these choices. they should limit the amount of support you could get and if a woman cant or wont support her child on their own then give them up for adoption to a family who dont have these same options of all these wreckless women.

  23. Corinne says:

    this lawyer has a big thumbs up from me,,, after 20 yrs of marriage and an alcoholic husband ,, he finally left , just went to work one day and didnt come back,,, never told anyone,,, after talking with my lawyer he insisted i let him take kids, 12 and 16,, i had to force him and in 9 months hes had them only randomly,, he drinks every time,, offers the older one beer,, makes him drive him while he is intoxicated,, has had the younger one at the bar and he hid in the back of the vehicle so ppl wouldnt see him and take him :( he refuses to pay child support ,, suddenly out of the blue he decides he wants visitation every other week end,, even though kids dont want to go and he continues to drink and do drugs,, lawyer tells me last week that he is out of control,, after he showed up in court intoxicated,, did they have him arrested because he has a dui already nope they told me if i dont agree with everything he wants i will get nothing. well i finally stood up and said no
    ,, i have told the lawyer repeatedly that he abused them both physically and mentally does it make a difference no it doesnt.. he threatened to break the older ones legs so he coudlnt get away while he finished beating him… i am tired of hearing alcoholism is a disease because it just becomes an excuse,,, if you want your kids you will do anything include getting yourself help. there is nothing that would make me happier than for my sons to have a father they deserve.. but God help me i cannot send them some place i know that the two adults there are both alcoholics and drink and drive.. as well as physical abuse…. seems most court systems just don’t care they just want the easiest way out,,, but I am not sure they realize it only takes one mistake for them to kill the kids… any judge who decides they should go with an unfit parent should first have to send their own kids with them for a week end visit…. laws would change quick i think… we need more lawyers lik
    e this one….there is a huge lifelong impact on the kids…and it goes on and on….

  24. Sam says:

    I think your child is being a child. You should have him one night every week for his stablility then. Toddlers change a lot and kids should be in the same bed everynight as much as possible. That makes them act out. Mom might just have more strict rules than you. Wish you luck. Be patient & go to court if you follow thru for your child every time u see him.

  25. Kate says:

    You speak from a place of privilege. If everyone had the same access to sex education and contraception as you did, perhaps their choices would more reflect yours. Perhaps, with education and access, they wouldn’t have the multiple children you rant about them having. If this country would stop focusing only on teaching about abstinence while a sexual revolution continues behind closed doors, perhaps some of the problems expounded on in this blog entry and in this comment would be resolved.

  26. I’m glad too see that this unfair forced responsibility of men has been addressed ! A woman can have responsibility terminated of parenthood for the reason that it would be financially impossible too raise a child too that it would an interference too the pursuit of there goals in life . But a male has no say in how the responsibility of a child would hurt him financially or hinder his perdition achieving there goals ! It’s sexual discrimination .

    1. Oswald Allen says:

      I’m the father of a baby boy (7 months), whom I love dearly), l live in nyc , apart from his mother and my son (out of wedlock ). For whatever reasons, the mother and I don’t get along ( I’m married, she knew before we began our romance ). The mother lives In a shelter ( l loved her regardless ), unemployed has has 2 other dependent children. I thought things would be ok with us , especially after the birth of our son, but things started to go downhill. I was so in love with this woman and her children but it was of no use, we started to have misunderstanding about petty things. Finally, I filed for custody of my son, all he’ll broke loose. False allegations of abuse was filed against me , I was arrested for allegedly assulting

  27. Deee says:

    I got pregnant with married man, before we start our romance we agreed no pregnancy involved i accidentally get pregnant by him he broke up with me before i found out i was pregnant he didnt want to accept it and i didnt force him to do so as we are both clear in pregnancy involved i told him i will not gonna bother him but he must pay gor child support, then he came up to his plan he spoke with me he offered me to get back together but i have to perform abortion i love him dearly but i love the little creature who still growing inside of me, i accepted him and agreed to abort the baby (really dont have plan to abort my child) just to make see if he really sincere or escape after telling him i already aborted my pregnancy, he did all the things to please me until just to make sure i will follow him until the end, so the day came i told him i did an abortion and the following day my instict was right he just came back just to make sure i will gonna do an abortion for his own sake, he pressured me emotionally and mentally, 3days after he told me he will gonna comeback to egypt for an holiday for 3months even very little things he lied to me he plan to stay longer time well i dont mine howlong he stay but he dont have to lie as i dont care, when i did confronted him he simply insulted me that he dont have any obligation with me nor any contract that of he told me 3 weeks then he will gonna stay 3weeks in his country, out of anger i told him i didnt perform an abortion as he tought and from the very start i knew how his dirty plan goes, i cut ties with him and told him i will leave him but once my child will born i will ask him for child support.

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