Paternity Fraud - Child Identity Rights

Pop quiz: Paternity test a pass-or-fail proof of fatherhood
Even when the genetic issue is settled, legal, moral and humane questions remain.

Mireya Navarro, the New York Times, October 23, 2005

Joseph Dixon said he was not exactly thrilled when his girlfriend of 1 1/2 years told him she was pregnant. But, Dixon says, he did not want her to have an abortion and was determined to do the right thing.

''I told her I'd definitely be there'' for her, says Dixon, 29, a hotel doorman in Chicago. And he was. The two didn't marry but settled into the common rhythm of separate but shared parenthood, he says, allowing him to see his daughter whenever he wanted.

But when Dixon arranged to buy a life-insurance policy to give his 4-year-old daughter financial security last January, the results of a required DNA test delivered stunning news.

''The probability of paternity is 0 percent,'' the results read. He was not the girl's biological father.

Like an increasing number of men, Dixon found his life spun around as the result of a paternity test. There was shock, then deep hurt and finally a realization. ''I never had any idea she'd been cheating," Dixon says of his ex-girlfriend. ''We knew each other, at least I thought."

With costs of paternity testing down -- to $500 or less per test from nearly $1,000 just 10 years ago -- and with the testing so simple it can be done at home (a swab from inside the cheeks does the job), DNA testing has become more common to settle legal disputes and questions about identity.

A survey by the American Association of Blood Banks showed that more than 354,000 tests to establish parentage were performed in 2003, compared with about 149,100 in 1995.

Caroline Caskey, chief executive officer of Identigene, a DNA testing company in Houston that has advertised its services in magazines and on billboards, says that in about 30 percent of the paternity tests, the presumed father turns out not to be the biological father, and that is consistent throughout the industry.

Results can be disturbing

Although the tests ostensibly offer clarity, those who are left to wrestle with the results find themselves in unchartered emotional terrain from the moment the question of a test is raised, lawyers who specialize in family law say.

Some men are like Dixon and say they had no reason to doubt the women. But other men are reluctant to take a DNA test even when they are in the middle of legal battles over children and their lawyer suggests they confirm paternity as a first step. Some even flat-out refuse.

''It's a cultural taboo in this country,'' says Jeffery M. Leving, a lawyer and fathers' rights advocate in Chicago. ''It's very unmanly to request a DNA test to determine that your child is your biological child. It's emasculating and many men would not do it.''

In any case where paternity is in dispute, the issues can be so jarring some of the men interviewed for this article had trouble speaking or broke into tears when recounting their experience.

Dr. Enrique Terrazas, 39, a clinical pathologist from California, says his ex-wife eventually told him that one of his two children was not his child. His second wife had urged him to do the test because of a lack of resemblance between father and child. In his view, what kind of person would have asked his own wife for a DNA test?

Terrazas cries on the telephone as he recounts the fallout. Because of the resulting dispute over child-support payments, he says, he no longer sees the child regularly. His ex-wife's current husband is adopting the child.

He says his relationship with the child ''has been destroyed."

It is the fallout faced by the children, most child advocates and lawyers say, that is most traumatic. And the men who seek to halt child-support payments -- an act many of them say is an attempt to right a wrong, rather than to abandon the children they still care about -- are surprised to learn they still are required by many courts to continue payments because it is deemed in the best interest of the child, especially if the man is the only father that child has ever known.

Some men have organized groups such as the United States Citizens Against Paternity Fraud (paternityfraud.com) to call for mandatory DNA testing at the time of birth and laws that exempt men from child support if they are proved not to be the biological fathers.

Take the test

To prevent grief down the line, Leving says, he recommends that his clients get a DNA test if they have a child out of wedlock. Other lawyers say men should think about the test even within a marriage if there's suspicion of an affair.

''I think the real bottom line is that for a few hundred dollars you can buy peace of mind that the child is yours,'' says Randall M. Kessler, a family-law lawyer in Atlanta. Lawyers such as Leving say clients often request the test when they are being denied visitation rights and become suspicious of the reasons.

In a recent case to make headlines, Amber Frey, the "other woman" in the Scott Peterson case, went to court to set aside the paternity judgment against the man who was paying child support for her 4-year-old daughter. She attached the results of a DNA test that showed the girl's father was actually someone else.

Gloria Allred, the lawyer for Frey, says her client had believed ''in good faith" that the man paying child support was the girl's father and argued that although women obviously have the responsibility to establish who the father is, so do men.

But Glenn Wilson, who represents Anthony Flores, the child's presumed father, counters that unlike his client, ''she knew who she had sex with.''

Dixon says he was floored when he got the DNA test results, but that he was not angry at his girlfriend.

''I was just really hurt,'' he says. ''That was four years you're getting attached, a long time to put your heart into somebody.''

He says he insisted on both of them telling the girl right away.

''I told her that I still loved her, but that I didn't want her to grow up with a lie,'' he says. ''She was shocked. Her first question was who's my dad and where is he? I kind of left it up to her mom to tell her."

The mother refused a request for an interview through Dixon. As it turned out, Dixon says, the biological father is not in the picture, and ''I was lucky enough that the relationship between me and the mother remained civilized."

Dixon, who also has a son from an earlier relationship, and the girl have gone back to their old routine. He regularly picks her up after school and delivers her back to her mother before heading to work at the hotel, he says.

Little has changed, except that he now calls her ''goddaughter" and she calls him ''goddaddy.''

Most of the time, anyway.

''Sometimes,'' he says, ''she still calls me dad."

Copyright 2005, Orlando Sentinel

Paternity Fraud
UK National Survey

Paternity fraud survey statistics

Scotland's National Newspaper

96% of women are liars, honest

5,000 women polled

Half the women said that if they became pregnant by another man but wanted to stay with their partner, they would lie about the baby's real father.

Forty-two per cent would lie about contraception in order to get pregnant, no matter the wishes of their partner.

Infidelity Causes Paternity Fraud

Time magazine - Infidelity - It may be in our genes. Our Cheating Hearts

Infidelity--It may be in our genes. Our Cheating Hearts

Devotion and betrayal, marriage and divorce: how evolution shaped human love.

South Korean Husband Win Paternity Fraud Lawsuit - Associated Press

South Korean Husband Wins Paternity Fraud Lawsuit

Associated Press, USA
June 1, 2004

South Korean husband successfully sues wife for Paternity Fraud and gets marriage annulled.  Wins $42,380 in compensation   Read More ..

Paternity Fraud Philippines

DNA paternity test confirms fraud, annulment granted: judge | Visayan Daily Star Newspaper | Phillipines

DNA test confirms fraud, annulment granted: judge

The Visayan Daily Star, Bacolod City, Philippines, BY CARLA GOMEZ, February 28, 2009

Bacolod Regional Trial Court Judge Ray Alan Drilon has annulled the marriage of a Negrense couple after a DNA test showed that the child borne by the wife was not the biological offspring of the husband who works abroad.

The family court judge ruled that the marriage of the couple, whose names are being withheld by the DAILY STAR on the request of the court, was null and void.

Due to fraud committed by the wife in getting her overseas worker husband to marry her, properties acquired during their marriage are awarded in favor of the husband, the judge said in his decision, a copy of which was furnished the DAILY STAR yesterday.

The judge also declared that since the overseas worker is not the biological, much less the legitimate father of the child of the woman, the Civil Registrar is ordered to change the surname of the child to the mother's maiden name and remove the name of the plaintiff as father of the child.

The complainant said he was working as an electronics engineer in the United Arab Emirates and on his return to the Philippines in 2001, his girlfriend of 10 years with whom he had sex, showed him a pregnancy test result showing that she was pregnant.

On receiving the news he was overjoyed and offered to marry her. Shortly after he went to Saudi Arabia to work, and his wife gave birth to a baby girl in the same year.

The birth of the child only five months after their marriage puzzled him but his wife told him that the baby was born prematurely, so he believed her, the husband said. Read More ..

Paternity Fraud - Spain Supreme Court - Civil Damages

Daily Mail UK

Adulterous woman ordered to pay husband £177,000 in 'moral damages'

The Daily Mail, UK
18th February 2009

An adulterous Spanish woman who conceived three children with her lover has been ordered to pay £177,000 in 'moral damages' to her husband.

The cuckolded man had believed that the three children were his until a DNA test eventually proved they were fathered by another man.

The husband, who along with the other man cannot be named for legal reasons to protect the children's identities, suspected his second wife may have been unfaithful in 2001.

BBC logo

Infidelity 'is natural'

BBC, U.K., September 25, 1998

Females 'stray to gather the best possible genes for their offspring'

Infidelity may be natural according to studies that show nine out of 10 mammals and birds that mate for life are unfaithful.

Experts found animals that fool around are only following the urges of biology.

New studies using genetic testing techniques show that even the most apparently devoted of partners often go in search of the sexual company of strangers.

Females stray to gather the best possible genes for their offspring, while males are driven to father as many and as often as possible.

"True monogamy actually is rare," said Stephen T Emlen, an expert on evolutionary behaviour at Cornell University.

Paternity Fraud & the Criminal Code of Canada

Paternity fraud: Is it or should it be a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada?

You be the judge.  Read More ..