Ok, so Arnold fathers a child with his maid, Mildred Baena. Arnold is married and, at the time, Baena was married. The child is now around 14 years old and Baena is now divorced.
So who pays child support? Arnold or Baena’s ex husband?
If this happened in Bucks County, or any where in Pennsylvania, it could be Baena’s ex-husband and not Arnold.
How can that be?
The courts in Bucks County and throughout Pennsylvania, as in most states (California being one) have a “presumption of paternity.” This presumption, according to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, is “one of the strongest presumptions known to the law.” The presumption is that a child conceived or born during the marriage is a child of that marriage. So regardless of who may have been the biological father, it will presumed that Baena’s husband, who was married to Baena when the child was conceived and born, is the legal father of the child. As such Arnold would have no right or obligation to the child.
So is Arnold, who is estimated to be worth $800 Million dollars, off the hook for child support?
Not necessarily. Under Pennsylvania law the presumption can be rebutted if, at the time of litigation for paternity, the marriage between the husband and wife is no longer intact. If this case was in Bucks County, Montgomery County or any where in Pennsylvania, now that Baena is divorced, paternity can be addressed.
Why does Baena’s marital status matter?
The public policy in Pennsylvania behind the presumption of paternity is the preservation of families, which should not be destroyed by a dispute over the parentage of a child conceived or born during marriage. A third party should not be allowed to attack the integrity of a functioning marital unit, based on public policy that children should be secure in knowing who their parents are. If a person has acted as a father and bonded with the child, the child should not be required to suffer the potentially damaging emotional trauma that may come from being told his father, who he has known all his life, is not in fact his father.