your not the father
your not the father logo

Paternity Fraud & Child Support Fraud:
What Are The Differences?

fraudulent child support claim

Often times, many men I have spoken with confuse these two types of fraud. So I decided to take the opportunity to discuss what each type of fraud is for those people who would like a better understanding of each type of fraud.

What is paternity fraud?

Misattributed paternity, false paternity or paternity fraud are all terms used to describe when a mother knowingly accuses a man of being the biological father of her child when he is not the biological father. Unfortunately, this is common occurrence not only in America but, worldwide. According to the Journal of Epidemiology & Health. 1 out 25 men worldwide will raise another man’s child and not know it. These types of numbers to me are pretty darn disturbing.

Can a wrongful father sue for paternity if the mother lied about him being the father?

I often get asked this question a lot. My answer is to this question yes. But, it is not what you may think. If a man is a victim of paternity fraud and has been paying child support for several years and then finds out by way of a paternity test that he is not the biological father of a child. The only way he (the false father) can attempt to sue is by filing a civil suit in civil court against the mother of the child. 

It is important to note that winning a court case where the judge says you are no longer the responsible father of the child and you no longer have to pay child support would be your strongest submission of evidence along with your DNA test when you go into a civil proceeding. 

The unfortunate part about this is, Although, you may win in civil court in most instances the mother still does not pay and you (father) are stuck with a loss. The difficult part for most men is building a case where you can prove without a shadow of a doubt that the mother intentionally tried to deceive you. If you are unable to prove this, it is hard to win in court.

Why do some people mix child support and paternity fraud?

These two types of frauds are related but are very distinct. Paternity Fraud deals with misattribution on who the biological father of a child is and, child support fraud deals with not being forthright about your finances with the court so a parent can gain an advantage financially over the other parent. The similarity between these types of fraud pertains to the child’s well being. Check out this video post on Federal Incentives pertaining to paternity fraud.

What is Child Support Fraud?

Child Support fraud is when a parent a does not fully disclose their finances to the court. This misrepresentation of the parent’s finances can lead to an over or, under payment of child support payments. It is important to understand that child support deals with the financial support of the child.

An example is when a parent may work off the books and they tell the court they live with a relative  and does not have much by the way of income so the court may rule on the lowest amount of support per month.  

Can a parent be charged for fraudulent behavior?

Many times what happens is if a parent is caught lying to child support agency by way of a  court proceeding. The office of Child Support will pursue the guilty parent and make them pay retroactive adjustments that may be more or less depending on your specific situation. But, it is important to note, The state and/ or federal government  reserves the right to pursue criminal charges that may lead to jail time and fines.

Is non-payment of child support a felony?

According to Citizen’s Guide To U.S. Federal Law On Child Support Enforcement. If a child support payment reaches an amount of 10,000 dollars and/or exceeds 2 years. The delinquent parent  will then be in a violation of the Federal Child Support Enforcement law and the violation will be looked upon as a criminal felony. Convicted offenders will face up to two years in prison and will be subjected to paying fines.  

It is also important to note, that a man can also be guilty of a criminal misdemeanor for child support if he has not paid for over a year and his non-payments exceeds $5,000. This is according to (See 18 U.S.C. § 228(a)(2). 

Check out my post on the misuse of child support payments click here.