Single mothers in several cities are being pressured by officials to reveal the name of their children’s fathers, so they can be made to pay child support, the Volkskrant reported lastFriday.
Experiments with trying to trace unnamed fathers are also under way in Zwolle and Maastricht, the paper says. Last year, 250 women in Rotterdam named the fathers of their children after being asked by officials.
Councils hope to save money by making fathers pay towards the upkeep of their children. ‘But it is most of all about getting fathers to take responsibility for their children,’ a Rotterdam council spokesman told the paper.
In law, biological fathers are legally required to support their children even if they are not named on the birth certificate. Councils base their financial claims on the word of the mother and have gone to court to force fathers to pay.
One man in Rotterdam, named by the paper as Eric van Deurzen, says he has been ordered to pay €486 a month in child support for his ex-girlfriend’s three children, even though she was a mother to two of them when they met and he is certain the third is not his.
Legal experts told the paper fatherhood needs to be legally established before payment can be requested. This did not happen in Van Deurzen’s case, and the council told the Volkskrant jurisprudence shows this is not legally necessary.