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Understanding paternity fraud -- Part III

Paternity fraud can be heartbreaking for a man who has believed for a long time that a child he raised as his biological offspring is not. Because of this belief, this man made sacrifices to raise the child. The emotional pain and suffering that is obviously caused by this revelation should be addressed.

Like any other fraud case, attorneys for the father would have to prove that he is not the biological father of the child and provide evidence of willful misrepresentation. The attorney would have to prove that the mother of the child was aware of the possibility that the impugned father was not the biological father of the child. If the mother is proven culpable, the amount of compensation would be determined accordingly by a Texas family court.

In many cases, paternity fraud may be discovered when a minor child starts showing genetic traits which do not match up with the man identified as the father or the mother or their families. Cases also include instances where the father had previously suspected that the mother had relations with another man who may in fact be the father, which can often form the basis of a paternity fraud lawsuit. Some rare cases involve the father's paternity being misattributed through no fault of the mother since the child was conceived with the help of assisted-medical procedures such as IVF treatments.

Discovery of infidelity on part of the mother, especially in cases where the child was born to a married couple or from a long-term relationship, can often result in the demise of the relationship and trust. Financial claims are usually raised by the father's attorney on various grounds, including emotional pain and suffering and specific and actual monetary loss attributed to raising the child.

Reimbursement lawsuits are usually filed in such cases against the mother. In some rare cases, where it is found that the biological father was also aware of the child's true parentage, a case also can be made against him for restitution as well.

Source: NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov, "Paternity fraud and compensation for misattributed paternity," Heather Draper, Aug. 2007

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