Monday, February 06, 2012

Did One Fly Out of the Cuckold's Nest?

We can read about a small, perhaps even temporary victory for victims of paternity fraud, in this ABC News report from Christina Ng.

A man who discovered that the daughter he raised was not really his can sue the biological father for $190,000 -the estimated cost of raising her for 15 years - the Connecticut State Supreme Court has ruled.
Good for the court!

Eric Fischer saw the red flags. When his youngest daughter was born, his wife Pamela Tournier's close friend and business partner Richard Zollino rode home in the limo with the new parents. For the next 15 years, Zollino was omnipresent at the girl's musical recitals as well as her eighth grade graduation. And his youngest daughter did not look like his other two daughters, including one from a previous marriage.

Fischer decided to confirm what he already suspected. He "surreptitiously obtained" a hair sample from his daughter and sent it to lab with his own DNA sample and in October 2006, he received the results that "excluded the possibility that he was the younger daughter's father," according to a court document.

Fischer confronted his wife and they divorced in 2007.

The couple's separation agreement only listed the couple's elder daughter as issue of the marriage and Tournier testified that she believed the agreement was fair and that "she believed [Zollino] was the younger daughter's father and that he had provided the younger daughter with support since and would continue to do so," according to the court document.
I have to wonder how the marriage was otherwise?

Zollino submitted a DNA sample and it was confirmed that he was the girl's father.
He was the sperm donor. Her father is the man who raised her.

In 2008, Fischer filed a lawsuit against [Zollino] seeking damages on claims of nondisclosure, misrepresentation and unjust enrichment.

A lower court ruled against Fischer, saying that he "had held himself out to be the younger daughter's father, that he had caused her to rely on him to meet her financial and emotional needs, and that revealing her true parentage after she had been led to believe for her whole life that [Fisher] was her father, would be detrimental to her emotional well-being."
Well hey, that happened anyway, didn’t it? Why can’t the courts quietly and secretly award damages along with an order that the truth not be told to the child under penalty of violating the court order? He held himself out to be the girl's father because he was defrauded. A fraud victim does not lose his or her right to seek recourse just because they were duped. They have to be duped in the first place for the fraud to take place.

Fischer, Zollino and Tournier did not respond to requests for comment. Zollino's attorney declined to comment and Fischer's did not respond to a request for comment.

This week, the seven Connecticut Supreme Court justices unanimously overturned the ruling, saying that there was no evidence that Fisher's lawsuit would be of financial detriment to the younger daughter, a legal technicality that helped overturn the original decision.

The justices ordered the case back to the Middletown Superior Court where it will be assigned a new judge, since the one who ruled originally has since retired.
So, this isn’t actually a conclusive victory for the cuckolded, defrauded husband/father, or any other man who is the victim of paternity fraud. There are several ways justice can still be denied.

It is very easy for me and anyone else to say that he should have just stuck around until all the kids were grown, never told the girl, and treated her the same as his biological children. That would be best for her, right? But what about all of the other men who are going to be put into this situation? Someone needs to prevent this from happening in the first place, and if the only way that's going to be done is a public, nasty lawsuit, than that’s going to be what happens. A better way would be to have the default be automatic paternity testing upon birth (or earlier, if no extra risk is going to be involved). Allow people to decline if they want (religious objections, for example), with the informed consent that they are losing their ability to object to paternity designation.

The law in many places automatically assigns paternity of a woman's child to her husband because the assumption was that a married woman was going to be having sex with her husband and only her husband and so that the child would automatically have the protection of a father (rather than every father having to adopt their own child) and to keep taxpayers off of the hook. But... technology has developed to determine biological paternity, without using that technology women have much less shame in being unfaithful and less incentive to be faithful or monogamous outside of marriage, and  in this case the taxpayers aren't going be on the hook, the biodad will be.

The comments left after the article include plenty from women who doth protest too much.

"Cara" from New York, New York:

A good, decent guy would have said "Well she's not my biological child, but I love her as though she were, I'd like to continue to raise her as though she wre mine"
No mention whatsoever about what a good, decent woman would have done.

"V " in Dallas, Texas got it right:

For far to long men have been lied too regarding being the father of children that are not theirs. As a woman I wish that these father could not only sue the real father but also the mother! If this were to happen...cases like these would decrease, women would start being honest, keep their legs closed to men who are NOT their husbands and be a trustworthy wife and mother.
I'm as sure as I can be short of a DNA test that my kids are my biological kids. There are distinguishing, inherited characteristics and so the only other possible fathers would be my own father or my brother. I can't imagine what this man has been through, nor the pain caused to the girl. We need to prevent this from happening anymore, as much as possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I have to approve your comment before it appears. I won't reject your comment for disagreement - I actually welcome disagreement. But I will not allow libelous comments (which is my main reason for requiring approval) and please try to avoid profanities. Thanks!