How would you feel if you were required to pay $1000/month for 18 years for the care and feeding of a child of whom you are not the parent?
How would you feel handing over that money at the expense of your own family, your own needs and well-being, your education aspirations, and your career dreams?
How would you feel if a judge ordered you pay for the child even while acknowledging that you are not the child’s parent?
How would you feel if you were legally mandated to pay for a child that isn’t yours or face prison because a judge tells you it’s In the Best Interests of the Child™?
This is called paternity fraud and it is not in the best interest of a child; it is in the best interest of the mother, regardless of her reasons why (e.g., hiding an infidelity, trapping a successful man into marriage, trapping a man into a relationship because she loves him, money, etc.) Yet, many men who have the DNA test evidence to prove it, are still legally required to pay child support for children of whom they are not the father.
According to USA Today, “The American Association of Blood Banks says the 300,626 paternity tests it conducted on men in 2000 ruled out nearly 30% as the father.” The data nevertheless demonstrates that paternity fraud takes place at an alarming rate. Women lie about paternity for many reasons, including child support.
There are 5 primary victims of paternity fraud and the mother and the family court and child support collection services are not among them. The people who are harmed by paternity fraud include:
- the child
- the father who is wrongly identified as the father
- the biological father
- the family of the wrongly identified father
- the family of the biological father
Everyone has a right to know his or her own identity. Lying to a child about their parentage is just wrong. When a mother does this, she is robbing a child of his or her identity and history, not to mention setting the child up for future psychological and potential health issues. The man the mother defrauds into believing he is the father is both emotionally and financially harmed. He may build a loving relationship with the child on a lie only to have it damaged and possibly destroyed if and when the truth comes to light.
The family of the defrauded man may also come to love the child. What happens when they learn the truth? The biological father is robbed of time and a relationship with the child as are his family members.
What if the biological father marries and begins his own family, only to have an ex knock on his door years later looking for child support? This actually happened to the man whose ex-wife defrauded a sperm clinic in the UK. His ex-wife lied to the clinic and stole his sperm twice and produced 2 children. She then pursued him years later for back child support. This man suffers and the family he chose to have suffers both emotionally and financially.
Here’s a news story about a young man whose dreams of a college education were destroyed by paternity fraud:
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His paternity fraud case began when he was still a child in high school. He claims he never even met the girl who put his name on the child’s birth certificate. In case you missed it, DHS is still investigating the case even after receiving DNA evidence that disproves their claim. Mr. Thomas is not the father; case closed.
Last month, ABC’s 20/20 ran the following What Would You Do? segment, He’s Not the Father: Would You Tell? on paternity fraud. Here’s the clip:
So, what would you do?
Would you tell him?
Would you mind your own business?
Would you mind your own business while thinking to yourself, “what a lying, self-centered %$%^$!?”
Would you reason that the child needs a father and the mother needs a “paycheck,” so it’s okay?
Would you reason that the child is an innocent and needs someone to provide for him?
Have you or someone you know and care about been the victim of paternity fraud?
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Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.
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Ugh… that pisses me off. My husband paid child support for his former stepson while his bio father got off “scot free” because his ex wife cut bio dad out of the picture and changed his last name to my husband’s. The stepson didn’t see his father from age 6 until he was about 21. My husband and his ex divorced when the boy was 12 and my husband voluntarily paid support for him because he thought of the boy as his son, even though he was never legally adopted (he just had his name illegally changed). When he was 21, the ex got bio dad back in the boy’s life and got him to change his name back to what it was originally without telling my husband what she was doing. We found out about their scheme from a state court Web site. When my husband confronted his “son” with what he found out, the response he got was full of anger rather than shame. The young man could not see how what he had done was so wrong and exploitative.
My husband also faithfully paid child support for his two extremely alienated daughters until each was 18 years old. I guess he was paying too much money for the ex to cut him off scot free, the way she did with her first husband. He was supposed to keep paying until each kid, including the stepson was 22. Luckily, ex was stupid and left a lot of loopholes in the decree which allowed my husband to get out of paying once the girls became legal. Meanwhile, they have lost half of their biological family and will never know their mother’s half, since she was adopted and is mostly estranged from her adoptive family.
My husband’s situation is bad enough, but I can’t even fathom how I would feel if I were married to a man who had an ex suddenly turn up demanding child support years later. I know it happens. It shouldn’t happen and these crazy women who pull this kind of crap should be prosecuted. It’s not in the best interest of a child to used as an income generator. What’s really sad is that when these kids become young adults and don’t get child support anymore, they end up losing their value in the eyes of their toxic mothers. This kind of exploitation can’t be a good thing when young people are preparing for adulthood.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Your husband’s ex is such a piece of work, knotheadusc.
It is sad, but not surprising that your husband’s adult step-son has such an entitled attitude. He learned from a master. Still, what an ungrateful, disrespectful sh*t.
What’s really sad is that when these kids become young adults and don’t get child support anymore, they end up losing their value in the eyes of their toxic mothers. This kind of exploitation can’t be a good thing when young people are preparing for adulthood.
They do, however, retain value as weapons to continue to hurt the father. As you well know, PAS doesn’t stop at age 18.
That’s very true. PAS can go on forever for those who don’t wake up and smell reality.
My husband has pretty much decided to take back his life and let his daughters go. They haven’t spoken to him since 2004. When their brother suddenly started talking to my husband again, we both welcomed him and were repaid with betrayal. So if my husband’s daughters ever do come around, we’ll have reason to be very suspicious of their motives. It’s sad, because under ordinary circumstances, my husband would never be suspicious of his daughters. But like you said, they were raised by a master manipulator. We have to protect ourselves.
I highly doubt my husband’s ex-stepson even talks to his bio dad today, even though he went to a lot of trouble to change his name behind my husband’s back. I wonder if he’s even aware of what he lost. As for us, as hurtful as the PAS has been, we finally realized the kids are the ones who are missing out. And since they are now legal adults, it’s up to them to decide how to live their lives and deal with the consequences of their actions.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
I think you have a very reasonable and healthy perspective on this. It still stinks though. And you’re right, it is their loss.
Telling a man that he is the father of a child is probably the oldest scam that women use to exploit men.
In the current era, misandrist legislation and courts have added a new dimension of horror to this situation.
It is an excellent reason for men to exercise self control and not touch a woman sexually until after they are married. Tell her it is your religion, buy her a dildo . . . whatever . . . just do not have sex with her until after the wedding.
In short, keep it in your pants. If you need release, masturbation works just fine.
Even after the wedding, have all the resulting children DNA tested (secretly) just to be sure.
I know several men who later found out that they had been cuckolded, but the wife had demanded child support after the divorce.
Women who make false paternity claims are committing a criminal offence. It is called fraud. Not just petty fraud, but major fraud that will mess up the life of the victim for decades . . . perhaps permanently.
I know one man who had a vasectomy after the birth of his third child and a few years later became divorced.
He formed a relationship with another woman, but kept knowledge of the vasectomy to himself.
How interesting it was when just two months into the relationship she informed him that she was pregnant to him. – lol
It was the old story. She had partied around screwing the bad boys, but when she found that she was pregnant she latched on to a decent man, who had previously been too ‘boring’ to interest her.
Something similar happened to the current boyfriend of my 22-year-old daughter, who was cuckolded during a previous relationship. He had the good sense to do the math and demand a DNA test.
Cuckolding women committing fraud is much more common than people in general realise.
Dr Tara Palmatier says
If in doubt, go through the proper legal channels and get the DNA test. If she takes offense at your “lack of trust” definitely get the DNA test.
I’m unsure of laws in other countries but here in New Zealand it is actually illegal for a man to have his child DNA tested for a paternity test.
The only legal avenue for a man to obtain that evidence is if the mother of the child allows it or he obtains a High Court Order. A cheating wife won’t give permission and the cost of obtaining that High Court order would financially ruin most men and so they’re stuck paying for the progeny of a slut and another man
Wow… that is really unfair!
That’s totally unbelievable! How incredible, and something that NEEDS to be changed!
Dr Tara Palmatier says
Agreed. How did that law come to pass? Was it sponsored by a women’s organization?
My husband is currently going through the same thing with his x-wife but the twist to his story is that they had a DNA test done after the child was born and the the test results that he was given by his xwife stated he was the father.. 13 years later we found out that the DNA stated him as NOT the father.. How in the hell can a mother do this to a man or her child??? We are really hoping that the judge put her under the jail n throws away the key.. I really hate woman who would do this to a child and a man.