I just found the following on Danny’s blog:
Pedro Soto was paying support (and spending time with) for his son Aaron with no thought that the they were not biologically linked. It turned out that Aaron was actually biologically linked to Francisco Serrano, the man that the mother of the child, Maricela Guerrero, was partnered with. Now in a case like this one would think that if Pedro is not the biological father it would make sense to terminate the order for him to continue paying child support right? Wrong.
“[T]he Department concedes that Francisco Serrano, not Petitioner [Pedro Soto], is the real father of Aaron Soto, but insists that due to the passage of time the injustice of Petitioner paying child support for a child that is living with, and being supported by his real father, should be extended at least another five years until Aaron reaches eighteen and finishes high school.”
Such decisions not only undermine one’s faith in the capacity of the justice system to make fair rulings in child support cases, it also further erodes the value and prestige of fatherhood. I don’t think anybody will disagree that fatherhood is not valued as highly as motherhood in our society. Court rulings like this one perpetuate the notion that the father doesn’t matter and any male passerby can fulfill his role. As long as he is capable of paying money, of course. It is highly hypocritical to make or support such rulings and then act surprised that fathers abandon their children easily or don’t participate actively in their care.
I agree with most of what Danny has to say about the case in his post, except the following:
Why should the passage of time even matter in a situation where the wrong man is being held responsible for payments and the right man is actively in the child’s life (meaning that the “but its about making sure the child gets the support they need” excuse does not fly)? And even if that right man is not in the child’s life why not seek him out instead of sticking with the safe bet and holding up a man who is not the one that should be held responsible?
It should not matter in the least whether the biological parent can be located or is present in the child’s life. What matters is that a father is just as valuable and important for a child as a mother. A child is genetically 50% his or her mother and 50% his or her father. We can’t just catch some random schmuck, assign him to be the kid’s father by a court order, and expect fatherhood to retain even a shred of its meaning.
I think that most of my readers know that children’s rights are a very important topic for me. I have received a lot of criticism for my post about whether rape victims should pay child support because I believe that the interests and rights of children should always supersede those of adults. This is why I find this court ruling abhorrent. Its blatant disregard for the value of fatherhood contributes to the image of fathers as being dispensable and interchangeable. This will end up hurting a great number of children.