Protecting Yourself from Paternity Fraud
Being a father comes with a lot of responsibilities. Legally, fathers are obligated to provide care, shelter, and financial support for their children. In the case of a married couple, the husband is assumed by the court to be the child’s father. For unmarried couples, paternity may be legally established by an affidavit of paternity. This is a legal document which certifies that the man is the biological father of the child. Family courts in South Carolina use paternity affidavits or birth certificates as legal proof of a child’s paternity.
Paternity fraud is when a men has been falsely identified as a child’s biological father. If the man is married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth, or if he has signed a paternity affidavit, courts will assume he is the biological father and consider child support appropriately. If the man has been misled into signing the affidavit, or paternity was falsely assigned for any reason, he may be a victim of paternity fraud. This can result in a man being required to pay child support on behalf of a child he is not related to.
Paternity fraud is very difficult to prove, and it can go undetected for years. That’s why it’s important to establish legal paternity with an actual DNA test before determining child support payments. In South Carolina, men can use the results of a paternity test to contest their legal status as a child’s father. If a man can prove that the child is not biologically his, he may be relieved from obligations for child support.
If there is any doubt about your child’s paternity, you should seek a conclusive DNA test before agreeing to child support payments. If you are already paying child support and discover that your child is not biologically yours, and the court can prove that you were intentionally misled, you may be entitled to reimbursement. If you suspect you may have been the victim of paternity fraud, contact the Fender Law firm to discuss legally determining paternity.