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What is paternity fraud and how can it impact child support?

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2021 | Father's Rights |

Parents have certain rights in Tennessee and around the country. However, when a man finds out that the child he believed to be his and who he’s raised since birth is not biologically his, it can turn his world upside down. Unfortunately, paternity fraud happens and can impact child support.

What is paternity fraud?

A Tennessee father’s rights can be significantly impacted when there is a situation of paternity fraud. Paternity fraud happens when a woman deliberately misleads a man into believing he is the father of her child. If the man legitimately believes that he is the father, he might not even consider taking a paternity test to prove it. He might simply sign the child’s birth certificate believing the child is his.

The actual fraud occurs after the man signs the birth certificate. In some cases, the man might be coerced in some way by the child’s mother into signing. However, if he doesn’t have reason to believe he isn’t the biological father, a man might willingly sign the birth certificate. Paternity fraud can be complex when the birth certificate is used instead of a DNA test to establish paternity.

In some cases, there is also a presumption of paternity. This means that the man is automatically recognized as the child’s father due to being married to the mother during the pregnancy and birth.

How is child support affected?

If a man takes a paternity test and learns that he’s not the biological father of his child, he might wonder how child support is impacted by this fact. A court may determine that he should still pay child support toward the child as it might find it in the child’s best interests. The man may also still feel as though he is the child’s father and might want to continue paying support in spite of learning that the child is not biologically related to him.

Although paternity fraud can dramatically impact a man’s relationship with his child, it’s not illegal. However, fathers have the right to fight back if they have become victims.