Legislators take a look at Paternity Fraud
January 9, 2015
“An ACT Relating to authorizing the termination of all legal responsibilities of a nonparent if genetic testing shows by clear and convincing evidence that a man is not the genetic father of a child.”
This is the opening statement quoted from Washington State Senate Bill 5006. I have written before about Paternity Fraud still being legal here in my state and this bill being run during the upcoming 2015 legislative session aims to finally provide a legal remedy to victims.
You can read the full bill text here (SB 5006).
Having passed through the Law and Justice committee, a first and second reading by the Rules Committee, a short 60 day legislative session ended last year before the bill could be brought to the floor for a vote. With 105 days to work with during the 2015 legislative session victims of paternity fraud in Washington State hope to finally enjoy fairness and equity before the law.
This year not only will it be run in the senate but a companion bill is also being run in the house along side. It should be filed within the next couple of weeks and I’ll post up a notice once there is a house bill number (HB #) assigned to it.
Here are some ways you can help.
• Now is the time to contact legislators and ask them to please support this legislation and doing so has never been easier. Just follow this link, Comment on SB 5006, type a brief message asking to please support this bill and click submit. Your message of support will be sent to every legislator our state.
• If you live in Washington, you can use the Washington State District Finder to locate your individual Representatives and Senator to contact individually in support of SB 5006.
• You can also gather petitions to mail or present to Washington Legislators. Download link, (Petition to Pass .PDF).
Preparing to start talking to my Representatives and Senator about the upcoming legislation I started looking at arguments opposing it. For this article I have taken objections to this legislation from state transcripts of previous hearings on SB 5006 and offered what I hope is a reasoned counter view to get the conversation ball rolling. Some I have divided into parts to easier express different points of view.
So lets look at some objections to this Bill that support Paternity Fraud in my State:
*** You can already appeal paternity within the child’s first (4) years Part 1 ***
This is not true.
What the Revised Codes of Washington (RCW) say is that you may attempt, you might try, but the court can deny your appeal even when filed within those (4) years (RCW 26.26.535). Under this Bill a wrongly named person could no longer be denied an appeal and must do so within (2) years.
*** You can already appeal paternity within the child’s first (4) years Part 2 ***
This objections ignores cases where someone is named father of a child that is 5+ years old. You could literally be named a child’s father yesterday and today it’s already too late to appeal because you are passed the first (4) years.
This objection also ignores the fact that indications a child might not be yours often don’t appear until after that time limit. Physical traits such as hair color might not change until a child is (5) years old. I would direct my legislators to the FBI website on finding missing children as veracity of that claim. I know my hair color, back when I still had hair, didn’t change from blond to brown until I was five.
*** There is no requirement that the correct father be identified Part 1 ***
There is no such requirement in this Bill because that law is already in place.
When our courts require a Mother to name a person as the Father of her child she does so under the penalty of perjury. The Mother is already required to name the correct person or all possible persons.
What the State is not supposed to be able to do is hold just any random person other than the Mother and her partner financially liable for actions they were not responsible for, did not facilitate, participate, a party of or even know about. To do so requires a suspension of Due Process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
*** There is no requirement that the correct father be identified Part 2 ***
There is no legal basis for this objection under our current RCW. (Uniform Parentage Act)
In fact, when not required by the courts, Fathers in Washington State do not have a basic civil right to know of, or be informed of, a birth or pregnancy. I would ask any legislator who would voice a no identification objection to instead sponsor a bill that gives children their Fathers by establishing such a right.
*** There is nothing in this Bill that increases the State’s support enforcement powers ***
Nothing in this Bill takes away from the State’s ability to enforce a support order so there is no added provisions increasing it.
Already the State can burden any random person with court imposed debt through a support order that the individual was not liable for, did not incur, know of, nor had anything to do with in the first place. If unable or unwilling to pay, the Court will then incarcerate that person even though our State Constitution specifically prohibits imprisoning citizens for debt. (WA Const. art. I, § 17)
Our family Courts already have what amounts to unlimited power to put in place and enforce a support order up to and including; Remove your child from you without a finding of unfitness, Deny consideration of your parental rights, Facilitate an adoption without notice or your consent, Force a complete stranger to adopt your child against their will, Imprison citizens for court imposed debt, Deny putative fathers the assistance of appointed counsel, Suspension of your State Constitution, Suspension of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments relating to Due Process, Deny an appeal to a judgment based solely upon proved perjured testimony.
What more could you possibly add? And this Bill does not stop the State from doing any of this. All this Bill says is when the court has done it to the wrong person, they get to appeal and only have a (2) year window to do so.
*** This Bill could leave children without support ***
Simply not true.
You cannot retroactively modify a support order so all money owed at the time of a successful paternity appeal would still be owed. The amount would be set to $0.00 and accrue from that point on until an order is placed against the actual Father. There is no loss of support for the child and nothing under this Bill hinders the State in collecting from the correct person.
It’s a fact that at least (12) other states have passed similar legislation or precedent rulings here in the U.S. and the results have not been children left without support. (Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio and Texas to name a few)
*** We should focus on the interest of the child part 1 ***
I know. At this point your probably thinking something along the lines of, “Oh you cold hearted bastard, how could you possibly argue against that?”
Just stick with me for a second.
You see, here in the State of Washington your parental rights are supposed to be considered prior to the interests of the child. And in every single case that SB 5006 would affect the parental rights of the father have been dismissed and only those of the mother and child considered. These children are then removed from their father without a finding of unfitness and our courts have then facilitated what amounts to a backroom adoption of that child without notice or consent of their father. All of which is already supposed to be illegal, unconstitutional or both.
Not to mention immoral, unethical and not representative of Washington State family values.
*** We should focus on the interest of the child part 2 ***
Not to put too fine a point on it but in all the cases affected by SB 5006 we are talking about the best interest of someone else’s child.
When I was served notice of a paternity action back in the 90’s the court already had my DNA test and knew there was no contact with the mother or child and hadn’t been for almost two years. In cases like mine you’re talking about the best interest of an absolute complete stranger. And the best interest of an absolute complete stranger is not supposed to be grounds for any kind of legal action against you in the first place!
*** The Father Child bond may be damaged – part 1 ***
This is not a relevant objection. Only if someone other than the child’s Father has been named so would this Bill apply.
If damage to a Father Child bond is of concern then it is a concern that supports the passage of this Bill. After its passage the wrongly named person will be able to disestablish paternity thus allowing our courts to name the correct person as a Father so that bond can be established and a parental relationship enjoyed.
*** The Father Child bond may be damaged – part 2 ***
Father, Step Father, Adoptive Father and Mom’s Boyfriend are (4) different things in the State of Washington. (RCW 26.26)
After passage of this bill not one father child bond will be damaged. In all the situations this bill addresses the state has already removed these children from their father without a finding of unfitness, thus denying child and father the establishment of that bond to begin with.
If the Mother is married to the wrongly named person in question then at best you’re talking about a Step-Father Child bond. And I’ve yet to see a single piece of credible social science that shows how removing a child from a fit father to protect a mom’s boyfriend child bond is in anyone’s best interest.
*** The Father Child bond may be damaged – part 3 ***
Harm to a father child bond when used as an excuse to oppose this bill is saying the child;
• has no claim against the Mother or State for emotional abuse. (Emotional Abuse: Defined as Domestic Violence by the U.S. Dept. Of Justice)
• has no claim against the Mother or State for denial of a parental relationship with, or even knowing who, it’s father is. (Defined as a Human Rights violation by the International Convention on the Rights of a Child)
• has no right of identity, family history or medical history. (Also defined as a Human Rights Violation)
• has no legal protection from being adopted without notice or consent of its Father. (Supposed to be illegal in Washington State, (RCW 26.33)
• has no protection against human trafficking. (Sounds extreme I know, but removing a child from a fit parent and forcibly adopting it to a complete stranger for financial gain does fit within the legal definition of Human Trafficking. National Institute of Justice)
Further, harm to a Father Child bond when used as an excuse to oppose this Bill is saying;
• The Father and Step Father have no claim of emotional abuse against the Mother or State. (It’s still domestic violence when a woman does it to a man folks)
• A court order based on perjured testimony should be upheld and not allowed an appeal. (Supposed to be unconstitutional. See: Annotation 16 of the Fourteenth Amendment)
• In cases where there is no father child bond or contact with the child and a finding of paternity has resulted from perjured testimony, presumption or default judgments, the wrongly named person should still be denied due process and not allowed to appeal. (The best interest of an absolute complete stranger is not supposed to be grounds for any kind of legal action against you in the first place)
• Fathers in Washington can have their children taken from them by the State without a finding of unfitness. (A parent’s constitutionally protected right to rear their children without state interference, has been recognized as a fundamental “liberty” interest protect by the Fourteenth Amendment and also as a fundamental right derived from the privacy rights inherent in the Constitution. Washington State Supreme Court 1998)
• The wrongly named person who was falsely led to believe paternity has no civil or criminal monetary claim against the Mother or State. (See; fraud in the inducement, fraud in the factum, intrinsic fraud, extrinsic fraud, constructive fraud)
• Fathers have no basic civil right to know of or be informed of a birth or pregnancy. (As I wrote earlier this one is legal here in Washington. I would ask any legislator who believes Washington citizens should have a basic right to know who your father is to sponsor such a bill granting thus.)
The West Report
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