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Paternity fraud and its consequences

Paternity fraud, which occurs when the mother of a child misidentifies a man as the father of her child, is a growing concern in Texas and the greater United States. Sometimes, paternity fraud occurs by accident, when a mother thinks she knows who the real father is and names that person on the birth certificate. Other times, paternity fraud is deliberate. In the latter situations, a mother knowingly names the wrong man on her child’s birth certificate in the hopes of reaping the support benefits of an uninvolved biological father. In either instance, both the man and child end up suffering, which is why the courts attempt to identify and stop instances of fraud as quickly as possible.

Identigene details the most common ways in which parents attempt to fraud the system. The most common type of paternity fraud occurs when the mother swabs her own mouth and tries to pass her DNA off as the alleged father’s. Fortunately, legitimate labs look for the gene, which determines the sex of test participants. If a mother swabbed in place of the father, lab technicians would pick up on the discrepancy in sex and order both parties to submit new swabs. Quality labs also look for similarities in DNA between mother and father. If a mother and alleged father’s DNA match, the lab would order a retest.

According to VeryWell Family, paternity fraud also occurs when a mother urges a man to sign a birth certificate or affidavit as proof of paternity before the man can submit a DNA sample. In Texas, men may also assume the role of biological father via the “presumption of paternity,” which happens when a state designates a man as a child’s biological father simply because he and the mother were married at the time of conception or birth.

Regardless of how one commits paternity fraud, it can have long-lasting consequences for the man. For instance, because Texas operates under a presumption of paternity, a man could be financially responsible for a child until that child turns 18, if the child was conceived or born during a marriage, and regardless of whether or not the child is actually his. As for the mother who committed the fraud in the first place, there are no consequences, and it is unlikely the courts will order her to repay the alleged father for his contribution to the child.




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