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What is paternity fraud?

Most Indiana parents might agree that a father's bond with his children is often the most joyous aspect of life. Through all of the ups and downs of childrearing, the memories made together over the years are priceless. When a father discovers that his child is not biologically his own, an entire world can seem to come crashing down. What, exactly, is paternity fraud, and how do fathers generally handle and address such devastating news?

Family magazine VeryWell explains that paternity fraud occurs when a mother incorrectly identifies a man as the biological father of her child. Sometimes, mothers are completely aware of this misidentification, while in other situations the mistake was an honest one. The details behind this type of fraud involve an affidavit of paternity, which a father is usually asked to sign. This process naturally makes determining child support a tricky one, since courts often look to the affidavit as proof of paternity.

VeryWell states that paternity fraud can go unrecognized for years; some fathers make this discovery when medical records reveal the truth. No matter how one makes this discovery, paternity fraud is a seriously damaging issue that currently has no straightforward regulations to penalize mothers who make these claims.   

There may not be a direct penalty attached to paternity fraud, but Identigene points out that fathers who discover no biological relationship with a child have a number of options. For instance, Identigene mentions that fathers may try to claim legal guardianship. This option involves the filing of a petition, followed by a potential sequence of interviews. Courts consider factors such as a father's age, financial outlook and physical capability when determining child custody after parent fraud has taken place. And while it is often impossible to be reimbursed for child support payments in most states, Identigene concludes by advising readers to seek the help of professionals, provide concrete evidence to the court and to remain patient throughout this difficult process. 

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