My paternity test idea inspired more discussion than I expected, and that’s before I even focused its the more controversial aspects. Although I addressed most of the objections in the comments (with some invaluable assists from Deti, SSM, and M3), I’ll save you the need to sift through them by summarizing my responses in this post, and the next one.
Here, I’ll address the more rational, male-oriented objections and alternate ideas, as well as Dalrock’s idea from a while back that Sunshine Mary brought to my attention. My next post will focus on the feminine objections (although to be fair, the women objected to some of the same stuff). Some of this I touched on in the comments, but after further consideration some of the female concerns came into sharper focus. I still stand by my idea, but I didn’t do an adequate job of addressing them.
First, I’ll state that all of these ideas are better than what we do now, which is assume that women are trustworthy (as if anybody is trustworthy), just sort of assume it will work out, and make it hell on the man if it doesn’t.
One objection raised by Stingray, Keoni Galt at Dalrock’s, and others is the well-founded fear of the government having even more information about us through the DNA of every new (and potentially new) father.
This can be resolved. For example, perhaps we could have a separate entity within the hospital that does paternity tests and only paternity tests. The only information they keep afterwards is the name of the guy, name of the kid, and whether or not paternity is confirmed or denied. Everything else is disposed of.
Maybe that wouldn’t work, but something could. We have the ability to prevent horribly complicated situations for fathers, ostensible fathers, and children, which my idea would prevent. This is a legitimate concern but a surmountable one.
Another idea is that of commenter slwerner regarding the statute of limitations on paternity:
Just my opinion, but the real answer to the issues created by the lack of at birth paternity testing (be it lack of legal obligation or simply the cluelessness of the duded guy) is to remove the narrow statute of limitation of the legal disestablishment of paternity. The real need for at-birth testing is due to the limitation of the time during which a man can prove he is not the father and be legally indemnified against court-order financial obligations for a child not biologically his own.
I actually support the notion of all men knowing from the time of birth if they’ve been cuckolded and that the child is not their own, but realize that too many either (believe that they) don’t want to know, or are simply clueless as to potential ramifications later-on. Thus, I am lead to the conclusion that the best possible way to protect the most possible men is to simply remove that deliberately misandric statute of limitations on the disestablishment of paternity.
I have no problem whatsoever with removing any statue of limitations on the legal disestablishment of paternity. However, although this would alleviate the problems for cuckolded men after divorce, it doesn’t keep the guy from unknowingly supporting somebody else’s kid until the marriage falls apart, nor does it keep him from the invariable trauma that would result from him finding out that sweet little Jessica isn’t really his just shy of her ninth birthday.
This stuff is rough on everybody involved no matter when it’s discovered, but the sooner the better. If he finds out that Jessica isn’t his when she’s born, he can bond to her with that knowledge in mind, or he can bail before it becomes an issue. If he’s one of those who “doesn’t want to know”, he has every right not to find out: he just has to admit he doesn’t want to know by not taking the paternity test and falsely putting his name on her birth certificate as her father. If he wants to raise her as his own child regardless, he has every right to do so.
On to Dalrock’s idea (explored in greater detail in the link in the second paragraph above):
Today the birth certificate form asks the husband to certify that he is the child’s father. If a husband balks when confronted with this form, his wife indignantly asks:
What! Aren’t you sure?
To address the issue, I propose changing the birth certificate application form to allow the mother to check one of three options:
- I do not know who the father is.
- I believe _________________ is the father.
- I swear under penalty of law that ________________ is the father, and there is absolutely no possibility that another man fathered this child.
Make it a felony to fill out and sign the form with option 3 inaccurately. A paternity test proving that the man she named isn’t the biological father would be legally defined as proof of her falsely filling out the form, and is therefore evidence of a felony.
To those ladies who would object to this proposal I ask:
What! Aren’t you sure?
In the first link, he proposes that checking Option 3 would result in a minimum five-year prison sentence if it turns out she was lying.
I agree with Dalrock’s sentiment, but I believe that despite its intention it would be largely unworkable.
First, we must acknowledge Queen Hamster. Unless the interloper is of a different race, most women would undoubtedly assume that nobody will ever find out. In many cases she if she’s cheated she may not even be sure herself who the father is, and any consequences for being wrong would be off on some distant horizon that may not ever come. “Our marriage is stable.” “Even if he has doubts, Bill would never send me to jail.” “If things our marriage goes south, I’ll probably be able to get out of it somehow.”
And on this last point, she’s probably right. In today’s legal climate, the actual text of and intent behind any given law may or may not be taken into account during any particular court case.
I can already hear the tearful cries of the lawyers:
Becky was terrified. She made a mistake that she’s regretted every day of her life ever since, and she didn’t want to subject little Harold to the prospect of growing up without Fred as a father. She’s horribly sorry, but don’t you think she’s already suffered enough? Do you really think this poor woman belongs in prison?
And what happens if she doesn’t get away with it? The ostensible father has just found out that the kids aren’t his. The real father is off prospecting for oil in Norway somewhere (they think). Or is he a roadie for Poison? And the mother’s about to get carted off to prison.
Do they send the kids on tour with Brett, Michael, Rikki and C.C., or to the barren tundra across the sea? What if the cuckolded dad decides to take the kid? After all, it’s not her fault:
Dad: No, you can’t go camping with Chad this weekend.
Tracy: I hate you! It’s you’re fault my mom’s in prison, and you’re not my real dad, anyhow. No wonder she cheated on you.
This doesn’t strike me as a formula for familial harmony.
And it won’t strike the courts that way either, which is why Dalrock’s well-intentioned idea won’t work.
The only solution (other than the obvious yet antiquated notion that spouses sleep only with each other) is for paternity questions to be resolved as quickly as possible. If it “can’t” be solved because the ostensible father is afraid to know the truth, then acknowledging it as unresolved at the time is far preferable to kicking the can down the road.
As important as they are, any legal issues are negligible in comparison to the issues of the Queen Hamster of the Unfaithful Wife. Queen Hamster is rarely constrained by potential ramifications several years down the road that she’ll probably be able to cry her way out of if it ever comes to that. She needs walls and a really short leash in the Here and Now.
For this reason I also prefer my idea to the idea Keoni Galt posted at Dalrock’s. A women willing to risk pregnancy with a man other than her husband is unlikely to be dissuaded by potential ramifications in case of divorce someday off in the horizon. Besides, there’s plenty of reason to believe her cryin’ eyes, sympathetic judges, and smooth lawyers could get her off for the same reasons they’d absolve her of Dalrock’s prison sentence. “The poor girl was frightened!”
As with all questions of family law, the only real solution is for wives and husbands to act as faithful women and men. However, laws can be structured in such a way as to mitigate the effects of immoral behavior. A cuckolded husband is going to suffer, but the sooner he knows, the less it will hurt. The child of such a mother is bound to have problems, but they’ll have fewer problems if everyone knows the truth as soon as possible. Furthermore, the more obvious it is that things won’t go smoothly for women who make such kids, the fewer such kids we’ll have.
Regarding the women, my solution doesn’t help them very much. To which I say: Don’t cheat on your husband and you won’t have to worry about it.
Like I wrote when I proposed my initial idea, political solutions are never really solutions; they’re merely least worst options. This strikes me as the best way possible to limit the harm to men for the fraudulent behavior of their wives without involving the State to an inordinate degree.
I don’t expect you to like my idea. Hell, I don’t even like my idea: I just can’t think of anything better, and I don’t know of anybody else who has.