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Quote of the Day - American husbands are the best in the world; no other husbands are so generous to their wives, or can be so easily divorced. - Elinor Glyn
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DNA Divorce Vows: Test Me, Test You, Test The Children. What's Next?

In the second of an unplanned, two-part series on family law, MIPTC offers you "divorce vows." 

That's right.  If you're a Dad when you get divorced, you might want to consider this vow, recommended by the Florida Court of Appeals:  "test now, or forever hold your peace," even if you think you are the father.  It could end up costing you years of child support payments for a child you didn't father. 

According to the Law.com article linked above, written by Carl Jones, Florida residents "Richard and Margaret Parker were married in June 1996, and Margaret gave birth to a child in June 1998. In December 2001, the couple agreed to a divorce settlement, obligating Richard to pay $1,200 per month in child support. Throughout the marriage, Margaret told Richard the child was his, and repeated that claim in front of the judge during the divorce proceedings.

"In June 2002, Richard filed a petition in Broward Circuit Court seeking relief from his child support obligations, based on alleged fraud by his ex-wife. He claimed she had an affair with another man and that she always knew the child was not his.

"Judge Rene Goldenberg dismissed Richard's petition, finding that the divorce decree established paternity and that any challenge must be filed within a year of the decree.

"In 2003, Richard had a DNA test performed on the child after Margaret alleged that he was behind on child support payments. The test revealed he was not the father of the child."

Ouch.  To add insult to injury, when Richard petitioned the Court to end his child support payments, the court denied his request as too late. 

In fact, this vow appears to be of value not only in Florida, but also in Pennsylvania (subscription required).   In that case, a father who waited eight years to seek a paternity test waited too long.  The court there denied his request, too, in the case where the child is now nine.   

Now when you get divorced, in addition to resolving issues over property, spousal support and bank accounts, you may want to consider including DNA tests for you and other family members.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, December 18, 2005 at 13:05 Comments Closed (1) |
 
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