What Exactly is Paternity Fraud and Is It a Crime?
Published April 8, 2022
Having been wrongly identified as a child’s father for years can be upsetting for men, and discovering that they have no biological connections to that child. Along with the emotional trauma caused by paternity fraud, victims of misattributed paternity may have been providing child support for years.
Getting the money back after finding the truth is never an easy task. This article will explain how paternity fraud occurs and what you can do if you have been providing child support for a non-biological child.
What is Paternity Fraud and How Does It Happen?
Paternity fraud happens when a mother misidentifies a person as her child’s biological father. The mother may be fully aware that the father is not biologically related to the child in some cases. In other instances, she is just suspecting that her child is genetically unrelated to the father indicated on the birth certificate.
Paternity fraud occurs when a man is requested to sign an acknowledgment of paternity for a child with whom he has no biological relationship. In these situations, the mother is likely the one asking the presumed father to sign the acknowledgment or birth certificate. The situation becomes more complicated when the state relies on the acknowledgment or birth certificate as proof of the person’s paternity in a child support case rather than requesting a DNA test prior to determining child support.
Paternity fraud is also a problem in some states due to a practice called “the presumption of paternity.” This occurs when the state designates a man as the biological father of a child solely based on their marriage at the time of birth or conception.
In some jurisdictions, the presumption of paternity compels the presumed father to pay child support for children to whom they are not related. In some cases, even years after the mistaken paternity is discovered.
What Happens if Paternity Fraud is Proved?
Often, paternity fraud remains unnoticed for years. Occasionally, it becomes clear after medical records indicate that the child is not connected to the person recognized as the biological father. When paternity fraud results in paying child support, the court must decide whether or not to continue such payments. While the obvious response may be “no,” the court’s primary concern is always the child’s best interests. As such, the court has the authority to: arrange for the termination of future child support payments or continue it.
Unfortunately, no paternity fraud punishment exists for mothers who commit it. In addition, paternity fraud is not a punishable offense, and collecting or recouping payments from the mother is extremely difficult.
Last Words From Instant Vital Records
If you think that a woman with whom you are or were involved has done paternity fraud, you should get a DNA test done right away. Parents seeking additional information regarding child support can consult their state’s child support guidelines.
Given the possibility that the child’s mother planned the fraud, it is highly unlikely that you can handle it independently. Instead, consult a reputable attorney who has experience addressing paternity fraud and recovering past child support.
(Related: How to Take Non-Biological Father Off Birth Certificate)
Lost Your Birth Certificate? Request A Replacement Online
Instant Vital Records offers a birth certificate replacement service you can use from the comfort of your home. Enter your information and our software will automatically complete the required forms for your state. We print and mail your forms along with required payments to your state health department. You can trust that we take your personal information privacy and security seriously with HIPAA compliant data storage and data encryption. To get started, simply click here to begin your application. Your replacement documents will arrive by mail to your home within a few weeks.
This Blog Is Fact Checked By Experts
Our team of experts has thoroughly verified the accuracy of this content. For detailed information on the editorial guidelines followed on our website, please click here.
About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She is a professional writer for various digital magazines and renowned publications. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage others to share their voices as well.