Discovering that the child you have been raising is not your own child may completely turn your world upside down. Paternity fraud occurs when the child’s mother claims you are the father despite knowing you are not. As a victim, you are probably thinking a million things at once, like whether or not to end the relationship or keep the child. However, it is not that easy.
It’s more than just submitting a DNA test
Some fathers are able to continue their relationship with the child despite the deceit, but others are too devastated by the situation to do so. If you’ve been caring for the child for a long time and are married to the mother, contesting paternity can be very challenging.
An unwed mother and alleged father may legally oppose paternity before the child turns 18. But if a judge determines that the man is the father, he will be the child’s legal father.
It is more complicated for married couples. After his wife gives birth, a husband may sign the acknowledgment of paternity, thinking the child is his. If this happens to be your case, you may rescind the acknowledgment within your state’s deadline.
In Mississippi and Tennessee, you have just 60 days after signing to revoke the acknowledgment. A legal battle might be necessary otherwise. Unless proven otherwise in court, a child born to a husband and wife is assumed to be their natural child.
If you are a victim of paternity fraud, you may want to stop paying child support. However, if you decide to file a formal complaint, you may discover that it is more than just submitting a DNA test.
The court considers the best interests of the child and will not allow the child to live without support. If the child’s biological father cannot be located, the court may determine that you are still the child’s legal father with all the corresponding rights and duties. This means you would need to continue paying child support.
If you have grown to love the child, paternity fraud should not stand in the way of developing a relationship with them. However, as a victim of fraud, you have the right to take legal action.