Paternity Fraud

Mace Greenfield Gender Bias


August 24, 2004

In the summer of 2004, in a California Court case, a man filed in court to set aside the order of paternity and order of child support which were both on default against him five years earlier. The appellate court did set aside those orders, once paternity testing proved him not to be the father. In this case, the man was never married to the mother and never lived with her. He never even knew the child. Women’s advocates, under the label of children’s advocates, are fiercely fighting this decision and wanting to have it unpublished so that it cannot be used to help other such “non-fathers.”

More than most people would realize, men are listed as fathers of children they are not the father of. When the alleged father tries to rectify this, the courts almost always refuse. They claim it would be harmful to the child, to find out the man he or she thought was his or her father never was. But in most of these cases, once the father finds out he is not the father, he severs the relationship anyway, if there ever was one.

So a man who never fathered the child is punished for having either believed and trusted a woman who told him the child was his, or by believing his wife was faithful to him. These mothers never have to pay any consequence for their paternity fraud, and so others continue to commit such fraud too with impunity. This is a fraud not just committed against the alleged father, but against the court as well.

Originally, years ago, the Courts refused to bastardize a child due to public stigma. This stigma no longer exists, as single parent families are becoming the norm. It is time for modern thinking to take over and for true justice to prevail. A man, who never fathered a child, should not be made to pay for 21 years, even if it is not until years later that he finds out the truth. The mother, who obviously knew the truth, should be made to pay the consequences of her fraud. This is the only way to end the lies.

So often on TV talk shows we see the same mother coming back for a third, fifth, even eighth time or more seeking paternity tests to find the father of her child, only to find out the eighth guy she now accuses of being the father, is not the father. Maybe, the answer is to mandate paternity testing of all children for whom child support is sought, or just to mandate return of all support paid and counsel fees once the fraud is found. The courts must stop allowing not just a fraud on the man, but the fraud on the court itself to protect its own dignity.