Who's Not Your Daddy?


As I tried to show in my February article on government-perpetrated paternity injustice, it's absurdly easy to be declared the legal father of a child you've never met, and devilishly hard to get the declaration overturned by an unapologetic state. Here's a typical recent case:

Robert Lee Moore says he has never been to New York. The 37-year-old married father of five from Chicago says he has never dated anyone from New York. So you can imagine how stunned he was when he received a child support petition in 2000 informing him that he had been named the father of a boy born to a woman on public assistance in New York City. [?]

Moore ignored the summons ordering him to show up in court because he thought it was a "joke." Then his state income tax refund check was withheld, and officials in New York threatened to enforce the state's penalties against dead-beat dads. [?]

Marcy Jensen, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state's attorney, said because Moore didn't show up for his first court date in March 2001, he was judged to be the child's parent by default. At that point, his work records were subpoenaed and a month later, a support order was entered. Two years later, Moore requested a blood test.

But his accuser and his alleged child did not agree to genetic testing.

"We terminated the child support order," Jensen said. "But the parentage order is still in effect and is under review by our office."