I am in a great class right now about the trial of a high profile case. As an attorney who has represented several clients in headline grabbing cases, I have to agree that honesty is in order. I have never been afraid to speak to the media, but I am always cautious when doing so. Why? Because my job is to represent the client, not to increase my media persona. When searching for an attorney, you may be tempted to choose the flashiest attorney on TV. Remember to chose someone with a good reputation, but who can be circumspect.
I have a vague recollection of a song from years ago. The chorus was, "That's just my baby daddy." I never bothered to learn the words, but the song ended with a list of male names followed by, "Ain't your baby daddy." The song was irreverent, a little tasteless, but sticks in the head. After all, any family lawyer worth her salt has heard a similar refrain. In fact, at one point, when I walked into court the paralegal asked me, "Who's not the father today?"
Over more than a decade of practicing family law, I have found that paternity mistakes or outright fraud are more common than you think. It is no longer shocking to find that a man has paid child support for years for a child that is not his. Of course, in fairness, there are also fathers who have ducked out and dodged paternity for years for a child that absolutely is his. However, this issue really is more about the children than the parents. After all, the child is innocent in this mess caused by 2, 3, or more "consenting adults."
As I always tell my male clients, you must get a paternity test. I know that requesting DNA testing will not be popular. Heck, as a woman, I would probably go ballistic if I was asked to submit my child to one. However, in this day and age of paternity fraud, mistake, and big money child support, testing is crucial. You should request the test before acknowledging paternity.
Of course, if you later begin to suspect that the child you have claimed is not yours, you may be told that you are out of luck. That is where an experienced attorney comes into play. I had a client who was set to spend 2 years in jail for failure to pay support on 4 different child support cases. Not only was I able to get him out of jail, but we discovered that another man was actually the father of one of the children and had shared custody with the mother! If he had listened to conventional advice, he would have been stuck paying child support for years for a child that actually had another father.
If you have questions about your child's paternity, don't wait. Call us today at 610-874-1900 in Delaware County, PA or at 215-391-4300 in Philadelphia.
"He's a Mitch!," said in a Kevin Hart voice and I knew exactly what he meant. You see, I am a reluctant fan of "The Real Husbands." I hate the idea of reality shows, but a comedian making a fake reality show just tickles my funny bone. Kevin Hart, the show's creator, has a term for men called "Mitch." It is the male version of another not so nice word. Essentially, he uses this word to describe men who show a little too much emotion. It goes along with another popular phrase, "Man up."
Well, as someone who has spent considerable time representing men in family matters, I can tell you that Kevin Hart may think a lot of my clients are Mitches. However, the truth is just that men love their families just as much as women. Unfortunately, many of them have been sold a bill of goods and think that they can't get primary custody or child support when they deserve it. Society has changed, and men can, and should, be active participants in their children's' lives. Fighting for custody does not make you a Mitch. In my book, it makes you a good dad. So for all the men who let me be their court room gladiator, thank you for not being afraid to be called a Mitch. Thank you for standing up for your family.
By Jacquie L. Jones
Join us on a journey of discovery as we explore issues of custody, criminality, and Probate especially in Delaware County, PA.