Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Group Therapy: Should he have to pay? Is it right?

Welcome to Group Therapy:

Alex commented and wrote a question for everyone to discuss. We decided it needed its own post! So here you go: Please give any advice you feel is helpful for Alex's question.

Hello everyone!

I had squished this post into a comment during one of the last Group Therapy topic. I was actually wondering when I'd get a chance to write a post for this blog. So here it is;

With all the discussions about Child Support a couple of weeks ago, I brought about a question I had in regards to my brother's situation. First, I'd like to tell you about his situation.

My brother met this girl about two years ago (
he was 20 years old at the time, he's now 22 years old). I honestly don't remember the date. They hooked up and started dating. Ok, more like fooling around. He had no idea this girl had children. To be fair, she didn't HAVE her children. Child A was taken from her at the hospital by CAS. Child B was given up for adoption and was taken at the hospital by CAS. Child C was delivered IN JAIL (she was in there for dealing cocaine) and taken from her by CAS. When my brother entered the picture, the girl was fighting to regain custody of Child C. Child C was almost a year old by the time she got him back. She, in the end, won. My brother fell head over heals for this little boy. He's a darling and even I care deeply for him. His one mistake was sticking around in the relationship because of the little boy. He didn't love this girl. He never has. The biological father, btw, is in jail for numerous things (including drug dealing, assault, etc) and has never seen his son.

I'm now going to skip to present time because the middle of the story really has nothing to do with what I'm about to write.

In early October, my niece was born. So now my brother is a father and a proud father at that. He truly loves this little girl and has done everything in his power to support her and provide for her. In December, my brother and his girlfriend broke up. They both agreed on figuring out a visitation schedule without going to the courts. They were being mature about it (
despite both not really being mature adults). They agreed upon the following; My brother would take both kids every second weekend (Friday at 6pm until Sunday at 7pm) and would take them on Thursday evenings. He would purchase all diapers (for both kids) and formula for his daughter and would help out as much as he could financially as long as his ex provided him with copies of receipts. Things have been going well in that sense but utterly horrible between the two of them (fights, threats to go to court for custody, etc).

So that's the situation. Now for the problem;

CAS has now stepped in (
remember, this girl has a running record with CAS and when they caught wind that my brother was no longer in the picture, they became involved). They decided that my brother needs to go to court and have a legal Child Support agreement drawn up. Not only does he need to do this (according to CAS), but he also "legally" has to pay child support to Child C, as well as for his daughter. Their reasoning behind this is because my brother has been part of Child C's life for well over a year (living with him, taking care of him, etc), that he has become financially responsible for Child C.

My opinion;

This is incredibly unfair. Yes, my brother loves this little boy. Yes, he wants to help out by supporting this little boy because he truly feels a bond with him and the little boy thinks of him as "
Daddy". I think it's wonderful that they share this bond and even more wonderful that my brother wants to help out by paying extra money each month in order to help support the little boy. I'm very proud of him and have told him numerous times (I have a son who is not biologically my husbands, and so I've been on the other end of this "bond" because my husband feels the same way for my son). However! I do not feel that he should LEGALLY be held responsible. My brother have not adopted this child, nor has he signed any sort of paperwork stating that he would financially support him. Also, from my understanding (and I could be wrong here), the biological father has NOT signed over his biological rights to this child. I have told him that if he fights nothing else in court, that he needs to fight this one. Continue being the good guy and pay a little extra if that's what he wants, but make it so that he doesn't legally have to.

My questions;

I
s this actually fair of CAS to ask this of my brother?
Will the Court actually make him pay child support for a child that is not biologically his or legally his?
(We're in Canada btw. I know that our legal system is different than that of the USA but some things are generally the same).

Thank you for reading my post and for offering any suggestions, comments, tips and answeres that you may have.

~ Alex

My Blog: My Life, My Glory

25 comments:

Hair Bows & Guitar Picks said...

I do not think that it is fair nor right. Unless your brother is willing to adopt the little boy I don't see why it is his responsibility.

I would do what you suggested and go to court and fight it.

Continue to pay for his daughter and maybe some extra for the boy but I would not be made too pay for a son that is not his.

Southern Sage said...

first thanks for posting!! woot woot

Second you really should hook a cracker up with her digits! Sheesh how could your bro let a winner walk away?

If they make him pay it absolute and utter insanity. I surely don't know American custody laws much less Canadian but I can see no way that they would make him pay.
Fight it doesnt even begin to state what I'd do.

Damn that sucks for him and the kid. Find the girl and go through some leg closing exercises and some proper condom use classes for her sheeesh girl.

Good post Alex

binks said...

CAS is bunch of idiots!
They can not make your brother "legally" responsible for a kid that is not his, regardless of his past financial support. Another case of a government employee trying to scare some young kid into doing what they want.
I applaud his devotion and willingness to help support the boy, but he should fight to get SOLE custody of his daughter and then run far, far away from that train wreck.

Alex said...

Thanks for commenting.

After writing this post, I did find out that it is THE LAW in both USA and Canada.

Because the biological father of this boy is in jail and cannot support him financially (nor has he ever done so), because my brother HAS been there for this child and has financially supported him, he is LEGALLY responsible for him.

It's the same as if I were to get pregnant by a man other than my husband, unless the biological father SIGNS LEGAL DOCUMENTS stating that he is taking responsibility financially and legally, than my husband is legally responsible for the child.

Yep. We live in a severely fucked up work.

No wonder the majority of men don't want to date women who have a child from a previous relationship. They don't want to get dinged with this shit.

And please excuse my language. I'm having a really bad week and this just continue to add more to the problems.

Anonymous said...

I can see that he may want to do a little something voluntarily because he cares about the kid's welfare. However, I think there would be something seriously wrong with the court system if he were held financially accountable for this child given the scenario. Where is the mother's accountability in any of this given her choices, history, and obvious disregard for birth control???

Here's another scenario for you. My friend has a child with a gentleman who is divorced. 4-5 years before his divorce, he and his now ex-wife had set aside some of her eggs and his sperm just in case. After the divorce and without his knowledge or permission, his ex got pregnant via in vitro fertilization. (With his sperm, but donor eggs as hers were not viable). At this point, she is taking him to court to sue him for child support for this child.

I can't imagine the repercussions if she did happen to win that one, since at that point he was like any other sperm donor...

tysdaddy said...

Alex,

You say that you've discovered that it is the LAW that he be held financially responsible.

Can you please provide some links for this information? Because it seems hinky to me.

If there is a LAW in the book that makes it absolutely clear that he is responsible, and there are precedents in place that illustrate how this LAW is to be applied, and they resemble your brother's scenario, then unfortunately there probably isn't much he can do besides somehow get the court to acknowledge the responsibility of the biodad. In that case, she probably won't get any money, but some foundation will be established.

This is such a goofy case.

Just for fun, I did a quick Google search and came up with hundreds of hits for "child support father in jail." And I don't have the time to dig through all that today. Even if I did, I am sure this particular LAW you are speaking of would be different for anything I could find that would apply here in the states, and even then, every state is different.

Please provide us with some links that apply to this specific case. That would be most helpful . . .

Because while we can argue all day about how wrong it is, we will get nowhere until we know what the LAW states . . .

Mommy is in the Bathroom said...

I can kinda understand the law as you say it is from the point of view of whats in the best interest of the child. The biological dad is in jail, can't support this kid, ur brother stepped in to help raise him and even wants to share in custody of him which is awesome!, and instead of letting the state or country (if that's how it works in canada.. i have no clue) take care of him, let the guy who wants to be in this child's life do it. I kinda get it.

It's unfair to your brother to have that legal responsibility.. especially if they were never married, and it's a dangerous loop hole, but i understand it from the view of whats best for the kid.

If I were your brother, I'd be fighting for sole custody of those kids. She obv isn't fit based on the history you provided. And then SHE can pay child support to him. I'd even have him fight for the bio dad to sign over his rights. If he refuses and your brother isn't granted sole custody..I would imagine that would be more legal ammo to not have to legally pay the non bio kids child support.

tysdaddy said...

And there's the kicker, Mommy. IF he battles for custody, then perhaps by even placing his name on a paper saying he wants to be involved, he WILL be held responsible.

I lied a bit. I did do some digging. And there have been some interesting cases involving this sort of this, although only tangentially.

One man signed for a letter sent to his house. The letter claimed that by signing, the man was agreeing that he was the father of the child mentioned in the letter. Only he should have read the letter better, because it was addressed to a man with a similar name as his, not him. He signed it. And had to fight like hell to prove he wasn't the man the letter was addressed to.

In another case, a man signed the birth certificate saying he was the father of a child. Only later, it came out that he wasn't. But the state held him responsible because he signed the birth certificate. He had to fight like hell to get his name off the birth certificate, and it wasn't clear from the article that I read that he succeeded.

Having said all that, has there ever been a time when your brother signed anything saying that he a) considered himself the father of the child, in any capacity, or b) signed an agreement to some sort of custody or financial support? If so, then there is a good chance that the state considers that a commitment, and will hold him to it.

Just thinking with my fingers here . . .

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

First of all the MOM doesn't even sound like she has it together enough to be responsible for a child let alone spend child support money ON the child. Sounds like she would be using it for drugs... I know I'm being terribly judgmental, but my HECK! Are you kidding me!?

Your brother should not be held financially responsible for a child not biologically his, but that child would be so much better off he did help in some way, like someone suggested, if he is being held responsible by some twisted law, I'd fight for full custody of both kids- that way you KNOW the money is spent on them and their welfare.

But...if he feels for the little boy and is connected to him that is one thing, but to HAVE to or be ordered by a law...no I don't think that is right or fair at all. But unfortunately your brother is now and forever attached to this woman because they had a child together.

I think TysDaddy brings up good points. Do you have a link where it states the law and maybe a court case similar to your brothers to see how things turned out or why?

What's not fair is that poor boy and the lot he drew for parents! Sad.

Alex said...

@tysdaddy - I'll have to look for the links. I was talking to my mom and this is where I got the information from. She did the actual research when this began to happen. I'll see if I can get the links. And *blush* it was also on Dr Phil on Monday. You can read it on his website.

Also, My brother has NEVER signed anything stating he would legally be responible for this child. If he has, he hasn't told any of us (and who knows, that could be possible).

@Mommy is in the Bathroom - She isn't fit. And I didn't even write the entire background on this woman. She doesn't care about her children. I've seen it with my own eyes. And yet, CAS does nothing.

Also, the biological father refuses to sign over his rights. The woman has tried, laywers have tried. He wont do it. Again, this could all be lies, the woman is known for lieing, so I can only say what has been told to me by my brother.

tysdaddy said...

You say it was on Dr. Phil on Monday. Were they talking about a scenario similar to this one, or was it more of a general discussion about custody or child support? My wife watches the good Dr., so I might have to ask her about this . . .

If you can't find any specifics regarding the LAW, no sweat. But it would be helpful. For it seems, in this case, that the authorities are following some set of guidelines and precedents. It would be helpful to know what those are . . .

Alex said...

@tysdaddy - they were talking about how Alexandra (the girl on the show) was pregnant with a man's baby before she was legally divorced from her husband. Dr Phil stated (and Im copying and pasting from his website about the show and the things they said)

"I hate to shake your faith in that, but you’re not divorced," Dr. Phil reiterates. "And that means Chris is the legal father of this baby." (Chris is her husband, not the biological father of the unborn child).

That's when I called my mom and was chatting with her about it (we've been following that family since I was pregnant with my oldest). She told me that she had done the research when this started happening with my brother and found out that my brother would indeed be held legally responsible for the child.

I can't remember who commented about my brother going for full custody of the kids (sorry I think it was mentioned twice or something). He, unfortunately, can't do that right now. He wants to. I want him too. But his job has made massive cuts and he's only working two days a week. He had to leave his appartment and live with my parents. He cannot support the kids by himself.

tysdaddy said...

Is there some time frame that the authorities are taking into consideration in deeming him responsible for the kids? Sort of like our concept of a common law marriage?

Or is it all contingent on the fact that he took the family under his wing for a time, and that those actions imply future commitment?

Interesting . . .

tysdaddy said...

Or are they saying, based on the fact that he's provided for specific needs of the child in the past, that, by doing so, he essentially agreed to continue doing so?

This makes no sense, for many single mothers receive help from families to care for the child. Some of them even have relatives move in to lend a hand, both physically and financially. But they are never held responsible for future expenses if they decide to move on or discontinue their assistance.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Has anyone from CAS told your brother that he needs to be responsible? Or is this coming from research, anecdote and/or the girlfriend?

Doesn't sound right to me. In fact, I would suggest your brother getting a lawyer ASAP and fight this thing.

Adoption of Jane said...

I think if he goes to court he should argue that if they are going to make him Financially responsible he should have the privleges of joint custody. His lawyer should argue there is no way he should be responsible for one without the other. It may be to his benefit if he loves the lil boy and she has had other kids taken from her. That way he has the right to step in and Claim the boy as well as his daughter.

I too have Children with different Fathers. The difference is I take care of them and they all have my last name. As for the law if thats the case they should give a fair Custody arrangement as well. I don't agree a year is long enough to pay support. If it was 5 years or more.. then I could see the Courts point of view, at that point the man has made a Commitment to step in as the Father. But, A year Pffft thats B.S.

Margaret said...

I don't think that is right at all. He shouldn't be forced by the legal system to pay for a child that isn't biological his. He should pay for his and then if he has extra and feels like it pay for the other child. I would fight it with everything I had in me because it isn't right at all.

Advizor said...

Having read most, but not all, of the above comments, I just wanted to add my two cents.

This is becoming a huge issue in the United States as more and more women get pregnant outside of wedlock.

I advocate for a paternity test, AT BIRTH, for every child born in America. Only the biological father can be FORCED to pay child support. Emotional and voluntary child support from a boyfriend, lover, even husband, should remain voluntary under the law.

Also, giving birth to a child that does NOT belong to the married spouse should be immediate grounds for divorce if the husband so chooses with a forfeiture of all child support claims.

WannabeVirginia W. said...

Oh heeellllll no. There is no law in Canada that states your brother has to pay for the child that is not his.

he has to by the Canadian Family Services Act be deemed as a father before he does. They (CAS) have to prove that he is a father as defined by the CFSA!

Your brother needs to go get a lawyer because he is being bullied by CAS. Jus sayin

I may need to do some deep breathing because this is utterly ridiculous.

tysdaddy said...

Alright, I'm going to muddy the waters a little bit.

In light of Wannabe's comment, and working under the assumption that this is an issue that falls within the statues of Saskatchewan, I did some digging through some documents, all of which I'll link to in a bit.

Here's what I've found, which I submit with the understanding that I am NOT a lawyer and am in no way qualified to interpret these documents:

According to the The Children's Law Act, 1997, it seems clear that your brother cannot be considered the "father" nor the "parent" of the child, especially if he at no time legally adopted the child. This really isn't an issue since the biodad claims to be such and shows no intention of turning that title over to anyone else.

However,

According to the The Family Maintenance Act, 1997, he could be considered a parent if he is "a person who has demonstrated a settled intention to treat the child as a child of his or her family," and also as a spouse if he is "(d) a person who has cohabited with another person as spouses (ii) in a relationship of some permanence, if they are the parents of the child."

This last document is the one that provides the statues and definitions that pertain to the "maintenance" or support of a child.

But in all this, I fail to see how they could force any obligations for support upon your brother so long as the biodad is still claiming rights with regards to the child. Can they "force" him out of the picture, per se? Or does he even count in the picture because he is a) incarcerated, or b) they were never married. (You never really tell us what the status of the relationship is between the bioparents.)

If you peruse the documents, you will understand what a quagmire this is. There are so many ways one can be held responsible.

Again, this may have just a fun exercise for me and completely non-applicable in the case of your brother.

And let me state, at the end of this very long discussion, that I completely agree with you! Something seems wrong about this, and I wonder, as others have, if the CAS is just trying to solidify something to cover their butts. They've obviously dropped the ball in the past, and this time they want to make sure someone pays.

Another thing: Has the boys mom made her intentions clear regarding this matter? Does she want support from your brother? If not, then this definitely reeks of a CYA on the CAS's part.

(Ha! I made a joke!)

;-)

The Documents:

Family Maintenance Act, 1997

The Children's Law Act, 1997

The Child and Family Services Act

singedwingangel said...

Legally I do not think they can make him pay support on a child that is not his. Hell Ky is as backwards a state on child support Ihave ever seen and if you don't have a DNA test saying it's your kid they don't go after you for squat..I figure if they are in teh picture and looking to take the kids, which could be their intention they may be trying to get him on legal papers so he can get custody of them.. which may not be a bad thing from the sounds of the mom

Anjeny said...

Alex...I read this post this morning and was literally pissed off at the unfairness of the CAS to make your brother be responsible for that kid like that. Have your brother claim that child, adopt him legally before he is forced to pay child support...honestly that is so messed up that system.

I feel bad for your brother. Seems like the judicial system is set up to make the honest and innocents suffer. I wish your brother all the best.

ATV WEB SOLUTION said...

You are obsessed with eating. You've even named your daughter Candy." He turned to the second Mum, Ann: "Your obsession is with money. Again, it manifests itself in your child's name, Penny.

Margaret said...

I don't normally read this blog - just hit the link when Sage put it up on twitter. And I didn't read all of the comments.

But you asked the following questions:
Is this actually fair of CAS to ask this of my brother?
Will the Court actually make him pay child support for a child that is not biologically his or legally his?

The short answers are - no it's not fair; yes the court can actually make him pay for a child that is not his.

When my first born was 20mo (2004), I moved in with my boyfriend. In 2009, the state caught wind that my son had the same last name as my boyfriend (I changed it in 2007), and they opened a child support case in my name - without my knowledge, I might add.

When we went to court, the only thing that mattered to them was that he had been my son's father in every sense of the word except biologically (living with, financially supporting, etc). Since that was the case, they made him the legal father and stated that he needed to pay for my son's medical insurance, and had to bring proof of that to the local child support services office.

We tried to argue with them, saying that since the Man wasn't my son's biological father, then he shouldn't be responsible for that. (His biodad was a donor.) In fact, I was taking care of it. But it wasn't good enough for CSS. They wanted my son to have a legal father and for him to be paying for everything possible. Papers were stamped and we were moved through the system. The case is *finally* closing this April. Even though proof has been sent in.

While we had talked about the Man adopting my son, we wanted to do it on our terms - on our time. And the courts refusing to listen to what we were saying was very frustrating. So while the end result was what we wanted, it made the Man look like a deadbeat dad, even though he most definitely was not. Grr.

So yes, it's possible. Since he has been supporting that child, and is choosing to include him in the custody agreement that they made together, then the state can say he should pay. The only way around that is to fight it in court, file a claim with the local child support services against the biofather and go from there.

I live in California, so other states may vary.

peace...

ATV WEB SOLUTION said...

How helpful do you find group therapy for eating disorders?

WE BELONG