Understanding Paternity Fraud

Paternity fraud occurs when a woman unethically acquires child support for her child from a man who is not its actual biological father. This commonly happens when a woman has an extramarital affair during the course of her marriage, which results in a pregnancy. Rather than own up to the affair and admit the child’s paternity, many women choose to cover up their affair and name the wrong man as the child’s father. If the unwitting victim believes that he is the child’s father and acknowledges his paternity, he ends up being responsible for paying child support until the child reaches adulthood.

A person who is identified by a woman as the father of her child is required by law to give up a certain portion of his income to support the child. In case the man fails or is unable to provide the monetary support, he may have to go to jail. Paternity fraud is real, rampant, and it has been found that nearly 30% of the DNA tests performed yearly to check for paternity fraud turn out to be negative.

Paternity fraud is surprisingly common because of the fact that it is not legally defined as a crime. There is no real penalty for naming the wrong man as the father. However, there are plenty of incentives to do so. Often enough, it is found that paternity fraud is state-supported. This happens due to the fact that a child that does not have a named father has to be supported by the state. State social support agencies have a vested interest in having women name someone as their child’s father, so that the state can seek reimbursement for the child benefits it has paid from the person named as the father. It is no secret that child support money is a major source of replenishment for the government’s coffers.

Statistically, paternity fraud is known to be more frequent among parents that belong to lower socio-economic strata. Paternity fraud can be motivated from the desire to obtain child support from a man who is likely to have more money to pay, to the wish to have a “better” father for the child. However what many people do not often understand and realize is that the man is not the only victim of the crime of paternity fraud. The child itself is a victim, because it can often end up losing several different means of support, such as its inheritance, its knowledge of its family’s medical history on the father’s side, several social security benefits, and also military benefits.
Paternity is a hot, super charged issue, with several groups calling for mandatory DNA testing of all new born infants in order to conclusively determine a child’s paternity from birth. The easy availability of DNA testing throughout the country has made it relatively easy to determine the identity of a child’s father or to determine whether a particular man is a child’s father or not. DNA testing is a simple, routine procedure that can determine a child’s paternity with more than 99% accuracy. DNA screenings tend to be pretty much conclusive of paternity issues. DNA tests may need the mother’s assent or a court’s order. This depends on your local laws, and may not be applicable everywhere. You may note that the disestablishment of paternity is not an outcome the state prefers, as the burden of the child’s support will revert to them.
Even though the vast majority of states have not changed their paternity laws, it must be noted that some states are gradually proposing new laws that will allow for the disestablishment of paternity based on the results of DNA testing. Hopefully this will lead to an improvement in the situation and make the real dads pay.