- Gender and Relationships
My Married Girlfriend Is Pregnant
She gave you a sob story about how her husband doesn't love her, beats her, ignores her, works too many hours, etc. The affair has been going on hot and heavy for some time, yet she is still with her husband. Have you taken the time to consider:
What happens if the affair produces a child?
A Consequence Of Cheating
With all the news items on the affairs of Tiger Woods, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and others, what is rarely noted is that in 50% of divorces where infidelity is claimed, it is the woman who was having the affair. Adding to this, in 30% of paternity tests, the male being tested is NOT the father of the child. This presents an interesting question on what would be the results if paternity testing became mandatory on all new births.
Med Express Labs, a blood-sampling lab in Overland Park (KS) DNA has been running TV commercials specifically addressing this issue. In a type of TRUST, BUT CONFIRM ad (see below), it points out that no man can be sure his children are truly the Fruit of His Loins without running a DNA Comparison (Paternity) Test. With the development of easy paternity testing, requiring only two samples, a man has available to him a way to confirm his paternity without the participation, OR knowledge of the mother.
The problem that arises from the issue of married women getting pregnant because of an affair is what are the responsibilities, and possible rights, of the man with whom she was having an affair? Should he be, and/or is he, required to pay child support? Does he have any rights to the child, whether paying child support or not?
This issue, and the related laws, is complex with no clear uniformity in the United States. In most states, Equitable Paternity is the rule of law, meaning any child born of the marriage is the child of the husband by default. If a divorce takes place, the husband is financially responsible for all the children, regardless of paternity. In addition, this continues even if later, the mother lives with, or marries, the biological father.
In these cases, whether or not the married couple remains together, the biological father is not responsible financially for, nor can he obtain any rights to, the child. However, this can change if the couple relocates to a different state, which can create significant complications for the biological father.
At this point, the mother can file for child support on the biological father, retroactive up to 18 years worth, depending on the specific state law. State laws range from two years retroactive in Florida, to 18 years in Michigan. Most states though are five years, but even with that, depending on the biological father's income, this could amount to tens of thousands of dollars. Most men cannot simply write out a check for $5000, let alone an amount ranging from $50K to $100K.
With any child support arrears of totaling more than $2500, an automatic suspension takes place of any rights to travel abroad. Even when related to employment. In addition, Tax Returns can be intercepted, and any assets, including jointly held assets, can be frozen and liquidated.
This should be a consideration of any man having an affair with a married woman. The financial consequences can be substantial and not evident for up to 23 years after the birth of the child. The standard in most states is that a mother has until the child turns 18 to file for retroactive child support, but states can set later limits. Further, the children can themselves file, if the mother has not, up to one year after he/she reaches the Age of Majority for their state.
This said, though financially the biological father may not be responsible, even voluntarily at the time of the birth of the child, with our upwardly mobile society, this could change as the years pass.
On the issue of rights to the child, different factors are considered. First, no father has parental rights to his child, born to a woman who is not his wife, under any circumstances, until approved by the court. However, even in states where the possibility exists that a man may have the option to sue for parental rights to a child born to another man's wife, the question is whether he should.
A Child's Best Interest
What is in the best interest for a child is to be a part of an intact family. Children from dysfunctional homes have 400% higher rates the drug abuse, involvement in crime, adolescent sexual activity, and suicide.
Priorities of all adults should be what are best for the children, whether that child is our own, or a part of society as a whole. We are all children of humanity; we should all consider what is best for the long-term health of children, even if this means allowing another man to be the child's father.
This is not the same as a case where the parents have separated and Mom has found a New Daddy for her children, as they know they have a father. In a case where a child is born of an intact family, and where the husband chooses to parent the child, it need not be necessary for the child to know the existence of their biological father. This can wait until they are of an age whereby he/she is better capable to understand that his mother made an improper choice of character. However, in considering this, there must be an open discussion with the husband to address all the potential legal concerns facing both the men by making this choice.
Even in cases where the husband chooses to parent the child, the possibility still exist that should a divorce take place, the mother could than object to him having any parental rights on the grounds that he is not biologically related, nor has an adoption of the child taken place. Further, in doing so, she can than file for retroactive child support on the biological father.
In addressing a case of this type, first the Husband needs to be fully apprised of the situation so that he knows his options and considerations. Even while living in a state that mandates the husband be the legal father, circumstances can change if a move to another state, without these requirements, takes place. If this is to be a serious consideration, it must be taken before a court in order to address all these potential problems.
The court needs to rule that the biological father will have no financial responsibilities for, or parental rights to, the child. Similar to an adoption, it could include the option of receiving continuing reports on the child's development, with a promise that the child be informed of his/her biological parentage.
This will protect the man whose raised the child as his own from later having his parental rights easily taken away by the child's mother, and it protects the biological father, who made the choice to give the child the possibility of a good life, from later being financially bankrupted for that choice.
Unfortunately, in today's society, the mother holds all the cards unless specifically addressed in a court of law. In addition, the unfortunate part of this is that unlike a married man getting a single woman pregnant, a married woman faces few legal repercussions for her affair, or the resulting child. Even in the event of a divorce, in most states, the affair is not a consideration in fault or division of property.
INVOLVED WITH A MARRIED WOMAN MUST THINK ABOUT THESE FACTORS. REGARDLESS OF HOW GOOD THE AFFAIR MAY BE, THE MAN IS HANDING OVER HIS FUNDAMENTAL CIVIL RIGHTS TO HER IF SHE BECOMES PREGNANT.