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The Waukesha Freeman

Supreme Court denies paternity to biological father

Child born of adultery remains with her marital dad

The Waukesha Freeman, By BRIAN HUBER - GM Today Staff

April 8, 2004, Waukesha, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

WAUKESHA - In a case that could have repercussions in other states, the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday denied paternity rights to a man who sired a child in an adulterous relationship with the child's mother, leaving the girl in the care of the man she has come to call "Dad."

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling of Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Lee S. Dreyfus Jr. that the biological father's finding of paternity in the case could be overridden if it was in the best interests of the child. The Supreme Court also agreed with the decision of an appellate court, but ruled that the doctrine it applied in its review of the case, called "equitable parent," left the door open for "uncertainties in the law" and should be barred from consideration in Wisconsin cases.

The case came about after the child's mother, identified only as Norma J., had an adulterous relationship with a man identified as Brendan B. Norma informed Brendan prior to and after the 1998 birth of the child that it might be his, but didn't inform her husband, Randy, about it until she had been convicted of embezzlement in 1999. Until that point, Randy cared for and supported the child as if it were his own.

Randy filed for divorce against Norma, and Brendan unsuccessfully tried to establish paternity in Illinois. After a paternity test established a 99.99 percent probability that he was the father of the child, Brendan was able to intervene in the divorce case to try to establish paternal rights.

In 1999, Randy was given temporary custody of the child because Brendan failed to appear at a hearing in the matter, and Brendan was ordered to have no contact with the child, now 6.

Legal arguments

Dreyfus ruled that the results of a paternity test could be thrown out after the test was completed because it was in the child's best interests to not have paternity established, and that Norma, the mother, was legally prevented from raising the issue of paternity based on her prior actions in the case.

Dreyfus also ruled "that Brendan did not support the child emotionally or financially, and that occasionally buying formula and diapers was insufficient to show his assumption of parental responsibility, as was his failure to assert parental rights either at her birth or at the court hearing in October 1999," the Supreme Court noted.

"Therefore, in order for Brendan to have the necessary foundation for a constitutionally protected liberty interest in his putative paternity, he would have to have taken affirmative steps to assume his parental responsibilities for (the child)," the Supreme Court ruled. "In regard to his relationship with (the child) the circuit court found Brendan had no substantial relationship with (her), who is 6 years old and has lived with Randy as her father all her life."

The Court of Appeals agreed with the decision, but on different grounds, saying that the "equitable parent" rule, where a parent through a judicial order is able to exercise all the rights of a natural parent, overcame all the aspects of the case. Brendan appealed to the Supreme Court.

In its ruling Wednesday, the Supreme Court struck down that notion, but upheld the original Dreyfus ruling.

Parents react

Matthew J. Price, Randy's attorney, said he expected the matter to go back to the circuit court for findings on how the child should be placed.

"The court found my client was led to believe from day one that this was his child in every sense of the word, and based on the actions of what Norma and Brendan did and did not do, he certainly relied on that, and it certainly would be detrimental to have that ripped out from underneath him," Price said.

"I think the justices were very thorough in recognizing the importance of this case, particularly when you consider the best interests of a child who didn't have an opportunity to pick either of her parents and the court is rightly protective of that."

But Jennifer Weber, Brendan's attorney, said things remain complicated, as Brendan and Norma are now married. Although Norma has partial custody of the child, her husband, the child's father, remains under a court-imposed no contact order.

"We are very upset by the results and opinion of the Supreme Court," she said. "It's an absurdity to think that my client is now married to the child's mother and has no rights to that child. The way the decision came out essentially left DNA testing and biological paternity by the wayside."

She added that during the first 15 months of the child' s life, Norma frequently visited Brendan, and he supported the child with clothes and food when the child was present.

Weber said that as it stands, if Brendan and Norma were to ever divorce, Brendan would have no legal standing to be part of his child's life.

Weber said the Supreme Court's ruling is that biology isn't enough to establish paternity. She predicted in the future, men who paid no child support and denied paternity might try to turn this ruling on its head to show they can't be named the father of their children.

Robert Welcenbach, who represented Norma, said it was good the Supreme Court struck down the equitable parent doctrine in paternity cases, which is similar to rules in other states. Courts must instead rule in the best interests of the child, rather than trying to determine who might be the best parent.

"I think it is a very important case, not only for Wisconsin, but nationwide," he said.

He added that it was possible for Brendan to gain visitation rights to the child, if a child psychologist decides it is appropriate in the future.

Brian Huber can be reached at

This story appeared in the Waukesha Freeman on April 8, 2004.

Paternity Fraud
UK National Survey

Paternity fraud survey statistics

Scotland's National Newspaper

96% of women are liars, honest

5,000 women polled

Half the women said that if they became pregnant by another man but wanted to stay with their partner, they would lie about the baby's real father.

Forty-two per cent would lie about contraception in order to get pregnant, no matter the wishes of their partner.

Globe and Mail - Paternity Fraud statistics for Canada

Canada's largest
national newspaper

Mommy's little secret

The article contains info about children's identity fraud at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

December 14, 2002.

Includes interview with employees of Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada who admit they deny children's identity information to husbands/male partners of mothers who want to hide the real identity of their child because they had an affair. The U.N. Convention on the Rights of The Child specifically supports a child's human right to have a relationship with both his/her biological parents. In addition, this article is proof that The Hospital for Sick Children ("Sick Kids") supports paternity fraud.

Further "Sick Kids" supports a mother's rights only, which they view, supersedes 3 other people's rights, namely, the rights of the biological father, the rights of the mother's male partner/husband and the child's identity rights.

BBC News logo

One in 25 fathers 'not the daddy'

Up to one in 25 dads could unknowingly be raising another man's child, UK health researchers estimate.

Increasing use of genetic testing for medical and legal reasons means Read More ..uples are discovering the biological proof of who fathered the child.

The Liverpool John Moores University team reached its estimate based on research findings published between 1950 and 2004.

The study appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Biological father
Professor Mark Bellis and his team said that the implications of so-called paternal discrepancy were huge and largely ignored, even though the incidence was increasing.

In the US, the number of paternity tests increased from 142,000 in 1991 to 310,490 in 2001.

Paternity Fraud - Spain Supreme Court - Civil Damages

Daily Mail UK

Adulterous woman ordered to pay husband £177,000 in 'moral damages'

The Daily Mail, UK
18th February 2009

An adulterous Spanish woman who conceived three children with her lover has been ordered to pay £177,000 in 'moral damages' to her husband.

The cuckolded man had believed that the three children were his until a DNA test eventually proved they were fathered by another man.

The husband, who along with the other man cannot be named for legal reasons to protect the children's identities, suspected his second wife may have been unfaithful in 2001.

Sydney Morning Herald

Biology, not heart, provokes women's infidelity

Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
January 15, 2009

BEAUTIFUL women who have affairs can now blame it on their sex hormones.

Women with higher levels of oestradiol, a form of oestrogen, not only look and feel Read More ..tractive, they are also more likely to cheat on their partners, a new study has found.

One-night-stands are not what interest these flirtatious females, who tend to have bigger breasts, relatively small waists and symmetrical faces as a result of their high levels of oestradiol.

Rather, they adopt a strategy of serial monogamy, say the researchers, led by Kristina Durante of the University of Texas.  Read More ..

Paternity Fraud & the Criminal Code of Canada

Paternity fraud: Is it or should it be a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada?

You be the judge.  Read More ..

Independent Women's Forum

Who Knows Father Best?

Feminist organizations including the National Organization of Women (NOW) has objected to legislation that requires the courts to vacate paternity judgments against men who arent, in fact, the father.

Think about that. NOW wants some man, any man, to make child support payments. The woman who doesnt even know who the father is, should not be held responsible for her actions, is a sweet, loving, blameless mother who seeks only to care for her child and if naming some schmuck as father who never saw her before in his life helps her provide for the innocent babe, well then, that's fine.

Innocence is no excuse. Pay up.   Read More ..

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Broadcast: November 22, 2004

Who's Your Daddy?

Last year, more than 3,000 DNA paternity tests were commissioned by Australian men, and in almost a quarter of those cases, the test revealed that not only had their partners been unfaithful, but the children they thought were theirs had been sired by someone else. Read More ..

Paternity Fraud

Sunday Times

DNA: Why the truth can hurt

The Sunday Times
March 27, 2005

IT sounded too good to be true and it was.

The fairytale that saw Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott reunited with the son he thought he had given up for adoption 27 years ago, ABC sound-recordist Daniel O'Connor, ended this week when DNA tests confirmed another man had fathered Mr O'Connor.

The revelations were devastating for all involved, not least Mr O'Connor.

Still reeling from the emotional reunion with his mother, Kathy Donnelly, and Mr Abbott a few months ago, a simple test of truth has thrown the trio into disarray a situation familiar to thousands of other Australians.

Paternity testing in Australia is a burgeoning industry.

The simplicity of the test cells are collected from a mouth swab grossly underestimates the seriousness of the situation.

Paternity Fraud Australia

Fathers May Get Money Back in Paternity Fraud Cases

18 March, 2005
FindLaw, Australia

Proposed new laws will make it easier for fathers to recover child maintenance payments if DNA testing reveals that they are not the child's father.

The Family Law Amendment Bill 2005 allows people who wrongly believed they were the parent of a child to recover any child maintenance paid or property transferred under an order of a court under the Family Law Act 1975 .

"The bill is intended to make it easier for people who find themselves in this position to take recovery action without the need to initiate separate proceedings for an order from a court of civil jurisdiction, such as a State, Local or Magistrates court," Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said. Read More ..

USA Today

Men wage battle on 'paternity fraud'

USA TODAY, by Martin Kasindorf, December 12, 2002

An acid sense of betrayal has been gnawing at Damon Adams since a DNA test showed that he is not the father of a 10-year-old girl born during his former marriage.

"Something changes in your heart," says Adams, 51, a dentist in Traverse City, Mich. "When she walks through the door, you're seeing the product of an affair."

But Michigan courts have spurned the DNA results Adams offered in his motions to stop paying $23,000 a year in child support. Now, Adams is lobbying the state Legislature for relief and joining other men in a national movement against what they call "paternity fraud." Read More ..