From May It Please the Court:Â
Imagine you’re married and have a three-year old child, but you can’t get along with your wife.Â You get a divorce and are ordered to pay $1,200 a month in child support.Â You may not like it, but you understand because you want to support your child.
But after your divorce, DNA proves otherwise.
Mom may be Mom, but her child is not yours.Â After learning the devastating news, you go to court for an order to stop paying child support.Â Let the real father kick in for the child support, you reason.Â The courts rule against you, so you appeal all the way to the Florida Supreme Court.Â Somewhere along the line, someone has to make sense of this problem.
The Florida justices ruled 7-0 against Richard Parker. The Court ruled Parker must continue to pay $1,200 a month in child support.Â Parker’s child supportÂ payments will total more than $200,000 over 15 years to support another man’s child.Â Unfortunately, however, Florida has a one-year statute of limitations to prove fraud after a divorce, and Parker didn’t file in time.
“We find that the balance of policy considerations favors protecting the best interests of the child over protecting the interests of one parent defrauded by the other parent in the midst of a divorce proceeding,”Â Justice Kenneth BellÂ wrote for the Florida Supreme Court.Â “We recognize that the former husband in this case may feel victimized,” wrote Justice Bell.Â HeÂ quoted another writer to explain the ruling: “While some individuals are innocent victims of deceptive partners, adults are aware of the high incidence of infidelity and only they, not the children, are able to act to ensure that the biological ties they may deem essential are present.”
Is the Court saying, “don’t trust your spouse?””
Is that the right result?Â Shouldn’t the biological father pay the child support?