Difference between a social and biological father

Difference between a social and biological father

There is an old saying that children are closer to their mother than their father. It is a hard truth, but all of us have to accept it. Usually, nobody asks whether a woman is the biological mother of the child or not, but if we analyze the past, we can see that many fathers have been asked whether they are the father of their children or not. Before DNA testing, courts usually decide the paternity of the child. Meanwhile, this hasn’t changed much. Suppose the man has a biological relationship with the child, but this doesn’t mean he is going to perform the responsibilities as the legal father. All of this started in ancient Rome with a rule that is still followed today “the father is he who is married to the mother.”

DNA testing in the early 1940s

DNA testing has been around us for quite some time now. For instance, in the 1940s, there was a famous paternity test battle that happened in Los Angeles, California. A 23-year-old actress name Joan Berry filed a paternity suit regarding her newborn baby. She stated that the father of the child is a 54-year-old world-famous actor Charlie Chaplin. The court analyzed the blood test results, which at that moment were imperfect, and stated that Charlie Chaplin wasn’t the father of the baby. Despite the fact, that the DNA testing result of that time court rules that Charlie is the legal father. Foundations that were used for this decision were his previous romantic encounters with the actress, along with the multiple marriages and divorces from younger women. Due to this case, California Law made changes and added more weight to biological paternity over social fatherhood. However, this alteration didn’t benefit Chaplin. He had to pay for the child support even though he wasn’t the biological father.

Legal Concepts of legitimacy and paternity testing

Before the 20th century, biology didn’t really matter that much due to incomplete research and results. Many historians point out that children who were born to unmarried parents had many disadvantages as compared to children who were born to married couples in the 19th century. Even though everyone knew who the real father was but it didn’t matter because the parents were not married. A traditional English law that provided the baes for current Family Court law in the U.S. stated that the children who were born to unmarried women were the child of no one. Before paternity or DNA testing, a father would simply make the decision to recognize the child and become the family father. In ancient Rome, if the man’s wife had no son to be his heir. They could adopt a boy and make his male heir.

Father’s rights 

According to a study, almost 40% of children in the U.S. are born without marriage. In some countries like Chile, the ratio is 70%. In these cases, a man can be the child’s father socially, but questions become quite complex when the scenarios are like adoption, questioned fatherhood, and surrogacy. Many adopted children have described their adoptive fathers as their real fathers. This is the prime and most popular example of a social dad. Meanwhile, the biological fathers are held responsible for paying the child support for the kid whom they are not raising. This law is implemented by the family court in all states. The legal status is still a bit ambiguous if a person has legally adopted a child. Other than paternity testing, adoptive fathers have a strong claim on the child if the adoption process is completed. For instance, if the child’s mother decides to put the baby for adoption, the biological father has a limited say in the matter. In the 30 states, there is either a putative father registry or a less formal legal procedure for the unmarried father who claims to be the father of a child and wants to visit them.

Being a social dad lies in daily relationships

The putative father registries play a key role in adoption cases. For instance, a case in 1983 where the biological father tried to stop his daughter from getting adopted by his ex-wife’s new husband. But the court denied his hearing and let the daughter get adopted because the biological father had no previous relationship with his daughter, followed by his unavailability to support her financially, and he was also not on the New York state father’s registry.

Social Dad and Bio Dad

DNA testing is widely available, and it is amazingly accurate. There are many and many cases where a non-bio dad plays the role of the real father. This is the man who takes responsibility and holds the foundation of the word father.

September 2022
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