What is Paternity Fraud?
Paternity fraud occurs when a mother names a man to be the biological father of a child, when she knows or suspects that he is not the biological father.Because none of the states require a mother who files a claim for child support to advise the court or child-support agencies when another man (other than the one they named) could potentially be the father, thousands of men are paying for support for children who may not be their own.
This deception has come to be known in legal circles as "paternity fraud." Paternity Fraud is also called "Child Identity Fraud" by some.
There are 3 primary victims in cases of paternity fraud: the child, the biological father and the male falsely identified by the mother to be the child's father. Other victims are the close relatives such as other children and relatives of the mother, alleged father and the child's bio-father.
Societies and the laws governing societies have always had an interest in paternity establishment. Who will be King, who is born a citizen, who is born free or slave, and who will inheret -- are issues that, throughout history, have generated a focus on paternity establishment. Until quite recently, we lived in a pre-DNA world in which true paternity was often difficult to establish and in which presumptions served
the useful purpose of solving the otherwise unsolvable.
Presumptions of paternity were a substitute for truth at a time when truth could not be obtained. We now live in a world in which truth is available. For less than $100, we can know with certainty whether a particular man is or is not the father of a particular child.
Old presumptions that were created where the truth could not be known should fall when the truth does become known. As stated by one court:
"We believe that all common law presumptions relating to paternity and legitimacy are rebuttable and the policy has now been established by the General Assembly that the true parentage is the end that should be persued by the courts in paternity actions".
In striking down a statue of limitations for the commencement of paternity actions, the United States Supreme Court, as far back as 1988, noted the growing availability of truth and stated that:
"Congress adverted to the problem of stale and fraudulent claims, but recognized that increasingly sophisticated tests for genetic markers permit the exclusion of over 99% of those who might be accused of paternity, regardless of the age of the child. H.R. Rep. No. 98-527, p 38 (1983). This scientific evidence is available throughout the child's minority".
Presumptions and limitations that were useful in the pre-DNA world should give way to truth and to justice. Unfortunately, there are no consequences for mothers who commit paternity fraud. Paternity fraud is not considered a punishable crime, and it's extremely difficult to collect or recollect funds from a mother who is accused of paternity fraud.Aside from money issues, paternity fraud is a violation of a child's right to know his/her own identity and the identity of his/her father. The child has a right to have a relationship with his/her biological father and mother. Additionally, the proper identification of a child is important for genetic and medical reasons, as well as, inheritance and medical insurance coverage.