Jewish World Review Nov. 27 , 2002 / 22 Kislev, 5763

Dan Abrams

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Consumer Reports


Why men should be able to sue women who lie about who's the daddy


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | On Friday, Nebraska's highest court ruled that a man whose ex-wife may have lied to him about being the father of their child cannot sue the woman for fraud and emotional distress. Why not?

IN ANY other realm of the law this would be a classic case of fraud. Robert Day had already been divorced from his wife for six years when he realized he was out of town when she conceived. A DNA test proved with 100 percent certainty that Adam wasn't his. Well Robert Day alleged that mom lied about her due date to fool him.

He had paid child support, medical expenses and even half of his wife's employment-related daycare costs after their divorce. She's since remarried. The court cited a number of psychological studies about the importance of parents bonding with children and held "In effect Robert is saying he's not my son. I want my money back" and that the lawsuit "Has the effect of saying I wish you'd never been born to a child."

No, it says "You lied to me, I want my money back," and the lawsuit has the effect of saying "I wish you hadn't lied and now hope you'll go after the real father for the money you snookered me from me." Look, these cases are difficult and different. If the result would be that the child would suddenly go hungry or lose his home, those special circumstances should matter, but that should be the exception.

The court's opinion focuses solely on public policy. How is it good public policy to encourage a philandering woman to lie? Why shouldn't she at least have to seek out the real father to make him pay?

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JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors “The Abrams Report,” Monday through Friday from 6-7 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today” and “Dateline NBC.” To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.

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11/12/02: Should human rights activists complain about the detainees' treatment?

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