Brickbat: Who's Your Daddy?


Credit: PRSA-NY / photo on flickr

Joe Vandusen and his wife separated almost two decades ago and have hardly even spoken since. But they never divorced. That's why the Iowa Department of Human Services is billing him for child support for the child his wife gave birth to last year. He says he called the department to explain he could not possibly be the father and offered to take a paternity test to prove it. That's when he was told it didn't matter. Under Iowa law, a father is responsible financially for any child born in his marriage.

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  1. It’s a stupid law but damn.He never thought to get a divorce and protect himself? When it comes to children,in this country,women have choices and men have responsibilities.

    1. Sometimes the state will go after the “father” regardless of the mother’s wishes. If the woman pressed for this outcome she’s a dirtbag. If she didn’t, she should give send all the money directly back. The law is immoral, but the woman deserves most of the blame.

      1. I don’t think so,Yes,the women is to blame,and ,likely gave the state his name and such. Still,only the women gets to decide to keep a child or not. Plus the real father gets away clean.

        1. We agree, I believe. In either situation, the woman is the one that has the power to either A) right a moral wrong or B) not initiate a moral wrong. Of course the law is crap.

          1. The ladies need state legislators to protect them. State legislators need the ladies for votes. It’s symbiotic.

      2. she should give send all the money directly back.

        Not sure about Iowa, but in many states you pay the state and they pass the money on, minus a small processing fee of course. She could send back what she gets but it won’t be all. That is why states are so interested in collecting support money, they don’t give one shit about right or wrong, they want their cut.

      3. The law isn’t immoral at all. Legal marriage is a legal responsibility. If you don’t want it, don’t enter into it.

        1. Marriage obliges you to pay for your wife’s child sired by another man? C- even for April Fool’s Day.

  2. What if he now divorces her, with the child being proof that she was unfaithful to the marriage?

    1. He’s still on the hook.

      There have been a few cases where the dad decides to paternity test his kids, only to find out that he’s not the dad. And so the Dad files for divorce for infidelity. The courts still order the ‘Dad’ to pay child support for a kid that’s not his. Meanwhile the poolboy who actually fathered a gets off scot free.

      1. If you’re a man, don’t bother getting married, the courts will screw you over 8 ways from Sunday if it doesn’t work out. There’s no real percentage in getting married.

      2. Even more, if you ever held yourself out as the father, you can be on the hook. So if you are not married, but your girlfriend says you are the dad and you “step up” and take responsibility for the kid – but start to suspect something is off a couple of years later…. well, too bad. At least in some states. Apparently there is a brief window where a paternity test might make a difference. After that, you are on the hook for support.

        But not necessarily protected with parental rights. There’s a good chance that a paternity test will work to sever the “father’s” custody and visitation, if it comes to that.

  3. Doesn’t “in the marriage” imply progeny resulting from the parties in that marriage. The link doesn’t cite the statute.

    1. No, common law held/holds there is an irrebuttable presumption that the children of a married woman are her husband’s…

      1. Which only made sense when we were unable to tell conclusively the truth. Now that it doesn’t have to be years of allegations and insinuations, but one simple test, it is time to move away from that rule.

        1. I agree. I wrote a brief arguing exactly that for an estate fight.

          It settled the day before trial.

      2. ah ok. but still, it’s Iowa law not common law that he has to take to court.

        1. I don’t know about this particular instance, but statutes often codify common law.

          If there is no statute on point, the common law will control, if it exists.

          I suspect this presumption is still widely followed throughout the US. As of 2 years ago, it was still going strong in PA.

  4. This is the kind of thing where I end up siding with the MRAs and hating myself for it.

    The government is happy to screw over men because of legal precedent. The actual facts of the case don’t matter, the important part is making a man pay, even though he is in no way a dad.

    1. Especially since that presumption grew out of another presumption that a child left only to the care of a woman, would be a much greater risk of poverty.

      Since we are making more money for the same jobs now?

      1. “Women” not “we”

        I’m totally a dude.

  5. time to move to Nebraska?

    1. Shucks – that’s a corny idea.

  6. Men’s rights activists are misogynist pigs who simply want to subjugate women. There are no possible valid concerns for men in this paternalistic society.

    That is all.

    1. Most MRA posts tend towards the bitches, who needs them?

      There are some valid complaints about how divorce courts handle custody battles and how they tend to favor the mother.

      But MRAs really are not the people who can make an argument.

  7. The mighty patriarchy screwing women again.

  8. Yay legal fictions!

  9. Man, that’s all kinds of fucked up. 31 years with Mrs. Almanian, never thought of a dalliance, now up to Graddaughter #2 courtesy of Daughter #2 and her husband, daughter #1 has prspects, #1 son has tendencies of faithfulness…..

    We’re trying to do our part not to precipitate such fucked up events as this….

    1. Granddaughters are so goddamned cute they should be banned. Just ADORABLE, Thank God I’ve lost so much weight from the cancer or they’d be killing me from the sugars on the other end…..SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

      1. In hindsight, paleo or cancer? Fuck cancer.

      2. You’ve lost my vote, Almanian. No presidential candidate should squee.

        1. UCS – I don’t know about that. If there were ever grounds for an exception, granddaughters ought to qualify.

      3. You have cancer and expect to run for President? Does Warty know?

        I don’t think so!


  10. You have to keep in mind that the rationale for this sort of thing is For The Children. Nobody gives a shit about fairness or justice for the mother or the father, it’s all about what’s in the best interest of the child. The fact that a DNA test shows you can’t possibly be the father of the child doesn’t mean anything, if you’ve got some documented connection to the kid and a paycheck and the kid needs a new pair of shoes, you’re buying the kid a new pair of shoes because his needs come before your needs. You don’t want to be buying a kid that’s not yours a new pair of shoes? Should have thought about that before you didn’t father the child.

    1. If you marry, your should accept the consequences of your choice. And you should only get married if you trust the other person.

      1. Not divorcing is the same as paternal responsibility, obviously! (Not to mention that Marriage is clearly a contract to support the womans choices regardless of if those choices resulted in her severing said contract. That’s why divorce isn’t a thing!)

        If they were still together and she cheated on him, got pregnant, and lied about it she would still be in the right. Because vagina. Because men are the only responsible gender. Because women just can’t be accountable for their own small headed, silly actions. They are only women, and if necessary the first male she walks past after being found pregnant should absolutely be liable for her financially forever.


  11. Under Iowa law, a father husband is responsible financially for any child born in his marriage.


  12. “Under Iowa law, a father is responsible financially for any child born in his marriage.”

    What’s the alternative? Court hearings for every child of dubious paternity? Visitation rights for the poolboy?

    Maybe you can get off the hook for child support if you get a divorce.*

    *Yes, I’m for fault-based divorce (“separation from bed and board”), it’s *remarriage* I have a problem with.

    1. Alternatively, I’d say if you have a fault-based divorce from your wife and your wife has a child, you should be able to take custody of that child and then of course child support would be your responsibility.

      1. (I’d say vice versa if the wife got a fault-based divorce, but she wouldn’t need to file a petition to get access to her child, would she?)

  13. nice post thanks admin

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