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Issues with paternity fraud

Paternity fraud occurs when the mother of a child lies about the identity of the father and binds that person into a child custody/child support arrangement. With modern science and DNA testing, you may think that paternity fraud is an issue from the past. However, it is very much an ongoing concern. Most parent-child relationships are established without formal DNA testing; the father just accepts his obligations without contest.

Unfortunately, modern science did not do much to alleviate the pressure on the courts regarding paternity actions. Courts across the country are clogged with pending paternity actions that leave thousands of fathers and children in legal limbo while they await resolution by the courts.

Studies have found that up to 30 percent of fathers paying child support could be doing so under false or mistaken pretenses. These studies note that these fathers are not biologically related to these children. Furthermore, even when these fathers go to court with a DNA test proving that they are not the father, it does little to relieve them of support obligations.

The paternity system is more concerned with finding a "father" to be responsible for the child. Whether or not that person is the child's father is of secondary importance to many judges. In fact, from the government's perspective, if the child does not receive support from you, the mother will seek it from public services. So there is an incentive to assign obligations.

If you are engaged in a paternity action, then you may want to speak with an attorney. Paternity fraud actions are complicated and difficult to prosecute. The courts are loath to end support obligations without finding an alternate father. Unfortunately, this places an unfair burden on fathers as they navigate these various policy positions and prejudices held by judges.