Paternity Fraud: What You Need To Know

Posted on: 23 November 2022

When a couple has a baby, both parents are typically listed on a birth certificate to certify they are the parents of the child. In some cases, the father's name is not listed if he was not involved in a relationship with the mother. Despite this, a father can still be named on a birth certificate even if there is no ongoing relationship.

Unfortunately, there are cases in which a man is listed as a father on a birth certificate by the mother without fully knowing if that man actually fathered the child. Since the birth certificate is a legally binding document that connects a man with a child, it can cause issues if the man is not the true father. This is known as paternity fraud and can be problematic for a man who is not the biological parent of the child. Here is what you need to know:

What Is Paternity?

In most states, a father of a child has particular rights when it comes to a child. A father who is on a birth certificate is legally required to support the child, see the child, and provide the child with a healthy living situation. A child is also entitled to a father's inheritance, social security benefits, and healthcare benefits when applicable.

How Does Paternity Fraud Happen?

Paternity fraud occurs when the mother of a child improperly identifies a man as the child's biological father. Either she is dishonest about the paternity of the child, or she does not know who the father is and lists who she believes fathered the child. In some cases, paternity fraud is a simple case of mistaken identity and can be rectified without any further issues. In other cases, a mother may do this to gain financial support. In either case, it is fraud to coerce a man to sign a birth certificate when the woman is not certain if he is the biological father.

What Can You Do About Paternity Fraud?

If you are a father who has been incorrectly identified as the father of a child, or if you think you are not the father but not fully certain, you need to seek help from an attorney. The first step is to file a petition with the family court and submit it to genetic testing. This will either prove or disprove your relationship with the child. If it is determined you are not the father, you can have your name stripped from the birth certificate and any obligations you have for the child will be discontinued.

For more information, contact a family law attorney in your area.