Is Paternity Fraud a Real Problem?
So, perhaps you’ve heard rumors about paternity fraud. So-called fraud cases involve situations where a woman has claimed that a man is the father of a child in order to collect child support or other support or assistance, all the while knowing the child is not his. While this is often reported as a significant problem, especially in tabloids and even some mainstream news networks, the actual prevalence is far lower than many believe. Experienced Glen Burnie paternity lawyers know that the subject can be very difficult and emotional for everyone involved. But the law is not always intuitive in this area, so be sure to speak with an attorney before doing anything that could jeopardize your case.
How Common is Paternal Discrepancy?
According to an article in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the rates and frequency of so-called paternity discrepancy largely depend on the circumstances. The researchers divided the results into two types of discrepancies: cases where a discrepancy was suspected and cases where it was not. Here’s what they discovered.
In cases where a discrepancy was already suspected, nearly 27% (26.9%) turned out to be correct to suspect they were not the father. However, when considering the general population with no suspicions, the number was just 3.7%. Based on these figures, the researchers postulated that 10% is likely a high estimate for the general population. With this in mind, it’s likely that as many as 10% of all fathers raising children are raising a child that is not biologically theirs.
Why is Prevalence Important?
The research is important because the general population is not terribly relevant to those who have suspicions. The relevant number is the 27% figure, because this suggests almost a third of the men who suspect their wives had children by other men are correct. Perhaps the more telling correlation here is that suspicions are generally worth exploring.
What Happens if a Child Turns Out Not to be Yours?
Some men suspecting non-biological relationship to a child may intentionally choose not to find out. They may have a great, healthy, and meaningful relationship with the child and have no desire to upset that. If that is you, then you must make a difficult decision as to whether you believe “finding out” would hurt your relationship or change the way you feel. As for others, however, where child support and similar obligations may be resting on the truth, it can be very important to find out.
The process starts, not with DNA, but with the courts. Paternity is far more than biology. Legal fatherhood or paternity is not just about the biological connection, but it’s also about protecting a child who may have a relationship with a father. If you’ve raised a child for years as your own, the court is not likely going to allow you to walk away from your duties as a father simply due to a mouth swab. This is why it is important to make these decisions as early as possible.
Give the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. in Maryland a call today to discuss your options.