Constitutional Challenge to Paternity Laws Dismissed By 6th Circuit For Failure to State Claim

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Dubay v. Wells, decided by the 6th Circuit yesterday, denied a constitutional challenge to paternity laws, dismissing for failure to state a claim. Quotes from the Family Law Prof Blog:

The suit was brought by Father who claimed that he should not be responsible for child support when Mother had represented that she didn't want to have a child and assured him repeatedly she couldn't get pregnant. Father argued that Michigan's paternity laws violated the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause because a man does not have a similar choice as does a pregnant woman regarding abortion, adoption or raising a child.
The court found that Michigan Paternity Act does not affect any of Father’s fundamental rights because "it is not a fundamental right of any parent, male or female, to sever his or her financial responsibilities to the child after the child is born." The court further noted that it did not need to apply intermediate scrutiny because the Michigan Paternity Act and other statutes that impose the obligation of support are gender neutral. Finally, the court found that the Michigan Paternity Act withstood rational basis review because "the means that the statute uses to achieve this end–requiring support from the legal parents, and determining legal fatherhood based on the biological fatherhood–is substantially, let alone rationally, related to this legitimate, and probably important, government purpose."

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