The issue that spurred the "Baby Daddy" bill is featured in the Tennessean. It is being argued in the state supreme court. Some of the big issues from the well done, balanced article...
In some cases, courts have ordered the true biological father to repay the duped dad, but Levy said that the true biological father also is a victim in such cases because he was denied a relationship with the child...
...Alaska, Illinois and Kentucky are among the states that have decided paternity fraud is no different than any other fraud and that compensating paternity fraud victims outweighs the potential harm to children.
An Illinois court opinion pointed out that not allowing such cases would be to let deceitful mothers off the hook for lying about a child’s paternity. The court wrote “that public policy does not serve to protect people engaging in” such behavior and that it would not allow a mother “to use her daughter to avoid responsibility for the consequences of her alleged deception.”
Davidson County Juvenile Court Magistrate Scott Rosenburg said allowing paternity fraud cases could have a deterrent effect that would eliminate the potential harm to children on the front end. Using the case between Hodge and Craig as an example, he noted that all Hodge had to do was disclose the “very material fact” that she had recently had sex with another man.
“With this kind of cause of action, maybe everyone will be a lot more careful,” Rosenburg said. “It would almost put an affirmative duty on women to disclose sexual relationships in the period of potential conception. That could be the ultimate outcome of this case.”...
...Some advocates are citing the gut-wrenching case between Hodge and Craig as evidence that supports calls for mandatory DNA testing of supposed fathers at childbirth to leave no doubt about paternity and avoid anguish down the road.
Rosenburg is in this camp. Holstein supports such tests, too, but only in cases of children born out of wedlock.
“Use science to solve an age-old problem,” Holstein urged. “We have a scientific tool, and we have had it for 15 years, and it’s not being used to its full effect. ... Look at all the heartache that has resulted (from this case).”
Should the Supreme Court rule in Craig’s favor, several similar cases may flood the state court system. In Tennessee and nationwide, questions about paternity are common.
In the first six months of this year, the Tennessee Department of Human Services tested 4,694 potential fathers for child support purposes, and 1,171, or 25 percent, turned out not to be fathers. A 2006 survey of DNA labs nationwide by the Association of American Blood Banks found that 26 percent of men who got paternity tests learned they were not the father of the child in question.