Paternity Fraud

Paternity fraud occurs when a mother names a man as the father on a child’s birth certificate when she is unsure who the father of her child is, or when she is well-aware that the man is not the father of her child. Sometimes the reason for the false allegation is that the mother does not want the alleged father to know about another man. In other occasions, the mother is seeking financial support from a man with more money than the biological father. Paternity fraud has become such a phenomenon that some states have even enacted criminal statutes to deal with the problem.

The financial element is only one area of concern for a father improperly alleged to be the father of a child. Regardless of the reason for the fraud, paternity fraud is tragic for the alleged father, the biological father, and the child. Often times the alleged father and the child develop a bond and close relationship which is based upon the mother’s fraud. Conversely, if notified of the fraud at a later time, the biological father often misses out on several years of his child’s life.

Fortunately, new laws have been enacted to protect fathers who are victims of paternity fraud. The recently updated civil law in Illinois requires a court to vacate a child support order if the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that:

  • the man is not the biological father of the child for whom he is paying support; and
  • the mother maliciously represented the paternity of the child to the father.

Under Illinois law, if a father wishes to challenge a prior finding of paternity, he has two years from the date on which he learns that he is not the father to file a petition with the court. Often times, it is difficult to determine exactly when a man learns that he is not the father of a child. Illinois courts have found that a man’s knowledge that he is not the father can come from “any reasonably reliable source.” In short, the statute of limitations can begin running long before a man obtains DNA test results proving he is not the father. If he fails to file a petition in a timely manner, he forfeits his right to challenge paternity forever.

There are circumstances in which the statute of limitations can be extended. For example, the statute of limitations will not run during periods of time in which the mother refuses to submit to DNA testing. Moreover, the statute of limitations will not run during time periods in which the mother fraudulently conceals the truth about paternity. Fraudulent concealment consists of affirmative acts or misrepresentations intended to exclude suspicion.

Prior to filing his petition, the man seeking to challenge a prior finding of paternity must have obtained DNA test results which show that he is not the father of the child. If he files without first obtaining the DNA test results, the court will likely dismiss his petition in summary fashion.

If an order is vacated due to paternity fraud, the victim may also seek restitution against the mother for support that was paid. However, the law limits collection efforts in order to protect the child.

The lawyers at Kollias &

Paternity fraud occurs when a mother names a man as the father on a child’s birth certificate when she is unsure who the father of her child is, or when she is well-aware that the man is not the father of her child. Sometimes the reason for the false allegation is that the mother does not want the alleged father to know about another man. In other occasions, the mother is seeking financial support from a man with more money than the biological father. Paternity fraud has become such a phenomenon that some states have even enacted criminal statutes to deal with the problem.

The financial element is only one area of concern for a father improperly alleged to be the father of a child. Regardless of the reason for the fraud, paternity fraud is tragic for the alleged father, the biological father, and the child. Often times the alleged father and the child develop a bond and close relationship which is based upon the mother’s fraud. Conversely, if notified of the fraud at a later time, the biological father often misses out on several years of his child’s life.

Fortunately, new laws have been enacted to protect fathers who are victims of paternity fraud. The recently updated civil law in Illinois requires a court to vacate a child support order if the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that:

  • the man is not the biological father of the child for whom he is paying support; and
  • the mother maliciously represented the paternity of the child to the father.

Under Illinois law, if a father wishes to challenge a prior finding of paternity, he has two years from the date on which he learns that he is not the father to file a petition with the court. Often times, it is difficult to determine exactly when a man learns that he is not the father of a child. Illinois courts have found that a man’s knowledge that he is not the father can come from “any reasonably reliable source.” In short, the statute of limitations can begin running long before a man obtains DNA test results proving he is not the father. If he fails to file a petition in a timely manner, he forfeits his right to challenge paternity forever.

There are circumstances in which the statute of limitations can be extended. For example, the statute of limitations will not run during periods of time in which the mother refuses to submit to DNA testing. Moreover, the statute of limitations will not run during time periods in which the mother fraudulently conceals the truth about paternity. Fraudulent concealment consists of affirmative acts or misrepresentations intended to exclude suspicion.

Prior to filing his petition, the man seeking to challenge a prior finding of paternity must have obtained DNA test results which show that he is not the father of the child. If he files without first obtaining the DNA test results, the court will likely dismiss his petition in summary fashion.

If an order is vacated due to paternity fraud, the victim may also seek restitution against the mother for support that was paid. However, the law limits collection efforts in order to protect the child.

The lawyers at Kollias & Giese, P.C. have extensive experience in dealing with paternity fraud. In fact, Daniel J. Kollias successfully challenged to paternity in a case which was affirmed on appeal, involving two children who were 14 and 12 years old when their father learned that he was not their biological father. If you are or might be the victim of paternity fraud, you should contact Kollias & Giese, P.C. today.

Giese, P.C. have extensive experience in dealing with paternity fraud. In fact, Daniel J. Kollias successfully challenged to paternity in a case which was affirmed on appeal, involving two children who were 14 and 12 years old when their father learned that he was not their biological father. If you are or might be the victim of paternity fraud, you should contact Kollias & Giese, P.C. today.