"'Dad' Ordered To Continue Paying Child Support After Finding Out Kids Aren't His"
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'Dad' Ordered To Continue Paying Child Support After Finding Out Kids Aren't His
Not long after Pasqualino Cornelio got married, he was thrilled to learn his wife was pregnant with twins. The two babies were born healthy and have since grown into 16-year-old teenagers who have suddenly found themselves at the centre of a bizarre court case that's sparked controversy across Ontario.
It started back in 1998 when the marriage of their parents unraveled and the couple separated in a bitter break-up. Cornelio has been making child support payments ever since. But when his estranged wife recently demanded more money for their upkeep and cut back on his visitation time with them, an angry Cornelio decided to take drastic measures.
He got a DNA test and discovered to his surprise that the twins weren't really his. Instead, they were the result of an affair his wife had while they were together, one he never knew about.
Those test results led Cornelio to get a lawyer and try to put an end to the payments and get his money back, arguing that he wasn't the biological father and therefore shouldn't be paying the freight for someone else's children.
But an Ontario Superior Court judge has ruled that, despite his wife's infidelity, he still has a duty to support the kids because he's the only father they've ever known.
In effect, Justice Katherine van Rensburg is siding not with the parents, but the children, who would be victimized by a stoppage in payments from the man they consider to be their dad.
"The right to child support is the right of a child, and is independent of a parent's own conduct." she stated. "(This man) was the only father the twins knew during the course of the marriage."
Why can't the real father step up to the payment table? Cornelio's wife claims she has no memory of having any affair and has no idea who the actual dad might be.
The case has now led to a huge controversy across the province, with many wondering if a man should be forced to support someone else's offspring in the face of such deception.
"I think it's a good ruling," states family law specialist Brahm Siegel. "I think it's a clear recognition (that) the utmost importance in determining cases like this, is the relationship between the child and the non-biological father, not so much whose D.N.A. is lodged in a child's cells."
But the director of a father's rights group thinks the wife's deception should be penalized
"Any time that you have a fraud committed, there should be something to be done to correct it. You don't just say, 'Well that's fine you committed a fraud, congratulations,' there's no consequence," said Brian Jenkins of Fathers Are Capable Too.