Paternity fraud is a criminal offense in the United States that occurs when a man is led to believe that he is the biological father of a child who is not really his. Men who are given false information regarding the paternity of a child often suffer irreparable emotional and financial harm. A man may become the victim of paternity fraud because the other parent wants to receive support benefits or needs to conceal past infidelity. Even though paternity fraud is a crime, many people do not understand how prevalent this type of fraud is. Learning surprising paternity fraud facts may change how you perceive questions surrounding legitimacy and paternity in the future.

Not Uncommon

When fraudulent paternity claims are discussed, they are typically treated as rare occurrences that should not be treated as the norm. In reality, the American Associations of Blood Banks reports that each year approximately 28% of the men tested for paternity are not the biological fathers of the child being presented as theirs. Some researchers believe that paternity fraud has reached epidemic levels in the United States but does not receive the attention it deserves because the problem is underreported. There is often a focus on proving paternity with little thought given to how a case should be handled if the named father is not the biological parent of the child.

Paternity is Presumed

One of the largest contributing factors to ongoing paternity fraud are the numerous state laws that support the presumption of paternity. If a man was married to a woman at the time of the child’s conception or birth, then he is presumed to be the child’s father. A man who is estranged from his wife or doubts the paternity of her child must often fight an uphill battle to absolve himself of legal and financial responsibility for the child in question. Unmarried men are not always faced with the same burden unless they voluntarily sign a paternity affidavit or otherwise accept responsibility of the child without first obtaining a DNA test.

Limited Recourse

Men who have been the victims of paternity fraud have spent years in court trying to relieve themselves of the financial burdens associated with supporting a child. Once they are freed from the responsibility of paying child support or providing medical insurance, there is little that can be done to recover the money spent on the child over the years. Civil lawsuits are a potential remedy, but even then, it is unlikely that reimbursement will be obtained. It is difficult to prove that the fraud was intentional and collect payment.

Get the Legal Advice You Need

Paternity related questions are never easy to handle and benefit from the assistance of a skilled paternity and legitimacy attorney. The understanding attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum know how stressful uncertainty associated with paternity is and we work hard to help you discover the truth. Our team is prepared to give you the legal advice and representation you need during this difficult time in your life. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in one of our Atlanta, Georgia offices so that we can begin providing you with the legal help that you deserve.