Paternity fraud happens when a mother tags a person as the biological father, when she knows or suspects that the he is not the real father. This is usually done to collect child support from the putative father. In a survey done in 2004, about 90,000 men in the United States have been falsely accused of paternity each year.
About 300,000 DNA tests are conducted to establish paternity every year and 30% of these tests showed that the man is not the biological father of the child. However, there are cases when the court orders continuous the child support even if the putative father is not the biological father. It usually lasts until the child reached 18 years old. According to statistics, about 1.6 million alleged fathers are paying for child support for their non-biological children.
Issues and questions begin to rise about paternity. Men are forming a movement that intends to take steps in protecting themselves from paternity fraud. State governments are starting to address this issue.
In 2001, Georgia passed a state law which permits courts to stop child support if it is proved that the putative father is not the biological father of the child in question. Maryland is also facing the issue by allowing a specific period of time for the father to challenge paternity. Almost other states have similar laws.
An example would be a paternity case in Florida where the father discovered that he is not the biological father through DNA testing. But the Florida courts ruled on continuing the child support of $1,200 every month for 15 years, which is more than $200,000. The reason? Because he missed the time requirement for filing the lawsuit challenging the paternity. They are only given a year after the divorce to challenge the paternity.
Some state agencies would rather continue collecting child support even though they were not identified as the biological father through testing. These agencies would get funds for collecting child support payments.
Most putative fathers, after finding out that they are not the biological father, would look for the real biological father. Some would sue them for back support, medical insurance and other needs. But this would require the “real” biological father to admit paternity. When challenging the paternity, the legal action normally takes about 6 to 24 months, depending with the state where you are located.
Also, with the advancement in technology, you do not have to wait for birth to conduct paternity DNA testing. There are DNA tests which could be conducted while the baby is in the womb of the mother. The doctor would be the one taking the sample from the unborn child. Medical precautions, however, are taken to ensure that the tests would not harm the mother or the baby.
Paternity fraud was sometimes the center of jokes, take bumper stickers as an example. But it is no laughing matter when children get affected of how parents conducted their relationships and responsibility. When a putative father discovered he is not the biological father, father and son relationships would be affected. Surely, this kind of issue should keep us on our toes about relationships.