You bring a child into your life, raise them to the best of your ability, only to learn later that you never shared your DNA with them. Such is the plight of paternity fraud victims.
Misattributed paternity is devastating for men who have spent a significant time of their life believing that they were biologically tied to their child.
According to the American Association of Blood Bank, it conducted 300,626 paternity tests on men in 2000. Out of which the tests ruled out nearly 30% of them as fathers.
Paternity fraud is a disservice not only to the alleged father but also to the child involved. The humongous betrayal by the mother can impact the lives of many – the non-biological father, the biological father, the families of both men, and most certainly the child.
If you suspect that your partner has committed paternity fraud and you simply don’t know how to go about taking the next step, try keeping your calm. First and foremost, you need to know everything about paternity fraud as that can help you make an informed decision.
Here’s everything that you need to know about it.
1. What Is Paternity Fraud
When a mother intentionally misidentifies a man as the biological father of her child, that is called paternity fraud. In certain cases, she only suspects that her child is not genetically linked to the father mentioned on the birth certificate. However, in several cases the mother is absolutely aware that the man is not biologically linked to the child. This is often done in order to avail child support.
The problem strikes when the man is asked to sign a paternity affidavit by the mother. The matter can get more convoluted when the state uses that affidavit or birth certificate as proof of paternity in a child support case, in spite of the apparent misattributed paternity.
A few of the most common types of paternity frauds include:
- Lying on a court application or during a court interview
- Tampering with paternity DNA test results
- Making misrepresentations when pregnant
2. Discovering the Fraud
Paternity fraud can go undiscovered for years. It may come to light owing to medical records that prove that the child is not biologically linked to the father. When this happens and if the matter is taken to court, then the father may be ordered to:
- Continue the child support payment, or
- Cease further child support payment
In such matters, the court ensures to keep in mind the best interests of the child.
Men who are victims of paternity fraud can attempt to seek action in civil court to either stop or collect child support funds back from the mother. However, reimbursement is generally considered a risky bet and the process can get extremely difficult.
Paternity fraud may also include other parties who have participated in it such as the doctor or the clinical professional who may have tampered with the paternity test results or a witness who gives a false testimony. They can also face legal consequences for their actions. It can result in contempt order. Chances of pressing criminal charges are quite high if major violations are involved.
4. Seeking Legal Help
If you suspect that your partner has committed paternity fraud, you should seek a DNA test immediately. DNA testing is the most reliable test for determining paternity and is admissible as evidence in paternity trials.
Most importantly, you should consult a qualified attorney experienced in resolving paternity fraud matters and obtaining reimbursement for past child support.
Here are a few important tips to bear in mind when contesting paternity:
- The alleged father may make misrepresentations regarding his relationship to the child or the child’s mother. However, it is illegal to make such a misrepresentation during a court proceeding as this can lead to negative legal consequences.
- It is best to identify and locate the biological father. The court focuses on the best interests of the child and will be concerned about the financial support for the child. By locating the biological father and providing an alternative means of support, you may be able to obtain an order of restitution requiring him to reimburse you for the amount you have already paid in supporting the child financially.
- Even if you do have a case of paternity fraud and strongly believe that you are not the biological father of the child, the court decisions in such cases can drastically vary from state to state, so you need to be prepared for it.
- It is best to hire a licensed and experienced lawyer in such matters. They can provide you with assistance on parenting rulings. They can also give you legal assistance in your matter and represent your case effectively.
The disturbing revelation of paternity fraud can impact the lives of several people. The mother committing such a crime is cheating a lot of people in the process, including her partner, the real father, and the child. Worse of all – it can affect the upbringing of the child negatively. If you suspect you are a victim of such a heinous crime, it is best to immediately contact a qualified domestic litigation attorney who can help you explore your options. They can fight for your rights and avail justice for the wrong that has been done to you.