Call for DNA testing at birth
A pro-fathers’ group wants to see DNA testing at birth to help men who are paying for children that are not theirs.
The suggestion comes as the Ministry of Social Development is reportedly having to pay $10,000 to a Christchurch man who was forced to pay for another man’s child.
Spokesman for the Union of Fathers Darrell Carlin says Mr Dowler is not the only one, and instituting a system where DNA testing is carried out at birth would solve the problem.
“Devastated” men are battling to prove they are not the biological fathers of children they are forced to support, says a group seeking changes to the child support system.
James Nicolle, a spokesman for the group Parents for Children, said his organisation was dealing with four other men in the same situation as a Christchurch man who has just won a 21-year battle to be repaid child support payments for another man’s child.
Mr Nicolle said the Inland Revenue Department would not accept the results of a paternity test unless they had written approval from a child’s mother.
Mr Nicolle told NZPA the men being helped by his group were devastated and saw “no way out”.
In one case he could only talk to the man’s partner, because the man became so upset when he discussed the problem that he could not sleep.
Parents for Children wanted a system that provided “fair and reasonable” child support, and for changes to the laws involving the way separated parents were able to parent and support their children.
The amount taken by the IRD depended on a person’s income, with one of the men he was working with at the higher end paying $1200 a month.
Mr Nicolle said children and parents had a right to know if a man was a child’s father.
“If they aren’t the father an awful lot of damage can be done for both sides. It’s a terrible thing to have to face.”
It was not just about money, with many other issues related to paternity. A person’s genetic heritage had cultural and health implications, he said.
Parents for Children would like to see free DNA testing for any father who chose to have it done, without a child’s mother being able to act as a “gate keeper”.