Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Man Has To Pay Child Support For Someone Else's Kids

I believe Canada has one of the best legal systems in the world, but I am left speechless in regards to a recent judgment that not only denied returning past child support payments to a Toronto man who had found out the children were not his, but stated that the man in question must continue to make child support payments.

Kirk Makin from the Globe and Mail reports that:

"Madam Justice Katherine van Rensburg ordered Pasqualino Cornelio to continue paying child support to the 16-year-old twins – regardless of whether he was bamboozled by a philandering wife."
The story goes on to quote the Justice Rensburg who presided over the case:
“While the failure of Anciolina Cornelio to disclose to her husband the fact that she had an extramarital affair – and that the twins might not be his biological children – may have been a moral wrong against Mr. Cornelio, it is a wrong that does not afford him a legal remedy to recover child support he has already paid, and that does not permit him to stop paying child support."
In regards to her justification, I find Rensburg's reasoning is severely flawed.

First in appealing to common sense she is wrong. She is wrong to make another man financially responsible for children that are not his. In doing so she forces Pasqualino Cornelio not only to be a one-time victim of his cheating wife, but a continual victim of his wife and our legal system. One can not imagine the psychological effects of having to provide for the children of the man who slept behind your back with the wife you swore to love until the day you died.

Second in appealing to reason Justice Rensburg is wrong. Rensburg argues that the social fathering aspect is what necessitates Pasqualino Cornelio to continue to pay child support. Though it should be admitted he did 'father' the children in the social sense of the word, when one considers that that fatherhood was built on false pretenses, it should just as be readily admitted that any social obligations to that family unit should be void.

In only holding Pasqualino financially responsible as a father, Justice Rensburg does not motivate anyone but Pasqualino to find the biological father. And this appears to end with Anciolina Cornelio, the woman responsible for the situation, to not only be free from finding the man she cheated on her husband with, but free from otherwise the financial difficulties that she had created.

In conclusion I must admit I do see that Justice Rensburg's intent was to do what was right for the children, but I believe in doing more harm to Pasqualino, an innocent citizen, not to mention a victim in this case, Rensburg failed justice. Rensburg only furthered such failure by allowing Anciolina Cornelio to be held not accountable for the very situation she created.


penlan said...

"“While the failure of Anciolina Cornelio to disclose to her husband the fact that she had an extramarital affair – and that the twins might not be his biological children – ..."

Has it actually been proven that he is not the biological father? The above statement by the judge makes it appear to be unconfirmed. said...

Penlan: The Judge only qualifies that because Anciolina could only know with probability. Kirk Makin goes on to state: "Mr. Cornelio began making support payments soon after he separated from his wife in 1998. He had the DNA test after his former spouse recently sought an increase in the payments and a reduction in his time with the twins. Upon learning that he was not the biological father, Mr. Cornelio claimed to be a victim of misrepresentation or fraud."

So to answer your question, yes he had been proven through a dna test that he was not their father.

penlan said...

Thankyou for clearing that up Scott.

April Reign (aka Debra) said...

The kids are 16 years old!! Presumably he 'fathered' them until now, loved them, cared for them. And now they are trash.

Can you imagine being those children? The guy is an ass. Under the law any child of a marriage is the husbands responsibility so the judge ruled correctly. Adopted children wouldn't have arisen from his penis either.

Really the biggest wrong here is his disregard for those kids who know no other father.

The Grumpy Voter said...

This is just one more in a string of rulings over the past ten years that ensure children receive child support, regardless of the circumstances. While I disagree with the ruling, it's important to remember the courts look at these issues with priority on "the best interests of the child" as well as the status quo: in short, while what mom did was probably despicable, the status quo is that this man has been paying support for a number of years so to have him suddenly stop paying support would upset the status quo thereby having a negative impact on the best interests of the children. Very simply: courts in Canada RARELY upset the status quo regardless of whether it is child support or custody and access... the status-quo is presumed to be in the best interest of the children and that's that.

My advice to young men: wrap it up. Wrap it up twice. Don't shack up with a woman who has kids from a previous relationship because if you act in the place of a parent, you're liable for child support. Don't enter into a commonlaw relationship and have kids... ever. You will have no rights as a father. Finally, if you want to get married, do not marry her if she refuses to sign a prenuptial agreement... it's just not worth the risk. said...

April Reign: The kids are 16 but it is unclear when the parents separated. So for you to suggest he fathered them until they were 16 is wrong. Indeed from the story it is stated he paid years of child support which would lead one to conclude he had not fathered them for sometime.

The Grumpy Voter: Yes I understand the need to look after the children, but I see forcing someone to pay child support under false pretenses as something that causes more harm than good especially considering the cheating wife created this situation. said...

The Grumpy Voter: I should also add that you do offer good practical advice, but I would rather prefer Canada to have a more sophisticated legal view in this sphere where such a solution is not needed. Though I am forced to acquiescence to it, I can't deny it appears cold.

Office said...

Status quo=best interest of the child. (I've worked in the family law system for years, the courts view status-quo and "best interests" as one in the same.)

It's also important to remember that the last time Canada tinkered with child support legislation was in 1997 with Bill C-41, the Child Support Guidelines. There was also a Joint Committee on Custody and Access that travelled the country listening to hundreds of groups talk about the need for reforming Canada's divorce laws and there were serious recommendations that could have made the system less adversarial including a presumption of shared parenting when divorce happens, but women's groups bitterly opposed it because all men in divorce are, ahem, "controlling, abusive and angry wife-beating deadbeats". Then Justice Minister Anne Maclellan (Liberal) shelved the recommendations and nothing has been done even though taxpayers spent millions of dollars for a joint senate/parliamentary committee to travel the country.

You are a young man. I am a middle aged man. I am telling you both as a father who has been through it and as someone who has worked in the family law system for the better part of the past two decades, WRAP IT UP!! Don't shack up with a woman who has a kid. Don't get married without a prenup. Dude, the risks are too great.

My son, who is 18 and lived through all of this crap is terrified of getting into a relationship because of his experience growing up as a child of divorce.

The system stinks, there is no political will to change it, parents going through divorce should have "temporarily insane" stamped on their foreheads, and the legal industry makes millions on the backs of children of divorce. The tax changes to child support alone bring in shitpiles of money to government coffers and as a male in this society, you really do have to cover your ass.

Cherniak_WTF said...

"The Scott Ross", I agree with the ruling but note that it may seem unfair.
Pasqualino believed the children were his and, I'm sure acted as the father (how could he not?).

I sometimes feel that the system take a "no-fault" attitude when it comes to divorce - adultery has very little, to no legal bearing, when it comes to "who is right". The courts do not assign blame when it comes to divorce.
It is a question of morality, but this does not enter into the law.

He was the father figure, and we can assume, followed that role. It would be cruel to the children to remove those payments.

I understand the outrage on many levels.
As pointed, the system is adversarial when it comes to divorce and for some reason there is often a need for "revenge". It is often the more moderate parent that is the victim. Lawyers are good at "pumping" up their clients and turning them into vengeful/hateful persons and really do not care about the children.

In reality, I've seen women have most of the advantages over men when it comes to separation - it's no wonder some fathers go to extraordinary acts to get some notice of the injustices.

Not all divorcing parents are "insane" but many act that way. The well being of the children is rarely taken into account by one of the parents which leads to judges having to make the best decision.
Contrary to what many may think, judges don't really read all allegations they glance at them. The truth rarely counts.

So we have some grave injustices.

Nadine Lumley said...

I have read that 10 to 15% of all children live with men who are not their fathers and they don't know about it.

That's why lineage through the female side makes way more sense. You can tell very clearly when a woman has a child.

Both of these parents sound like aholes btw. I feel sorry for the kids being used as pawns.