Duped ‘Dads’ Aren’t the Only Ones Hurt by Paternity Fraud

by Diane Dimond on August 31, 2015

Who's the REAL Daddy?

Who’s the REAL Daddy?

Countless children go through life not knowing the true identity of their father. Shame on their mothers. And shame on the U.S. court system that, more often than you realize, forces child support on men with no DNA connection.

These false establishments of paternity, as they are called, happen in courts across the country. Our broken family court system is intent on getting someone – really anyone – on record as being responsible for the child so the state won’t be.

The result? Circles of victimized people. First, the child who is denied the truth about who their biological father is, the hereditary disease they may develop, their heritage, extended family and inheritance rights. Then there is the innocent man and his family. They are robbed of hard-earned cash and emotional well-being. Living with an unfair court order – one that demands compliance for as long as 18 years – takes a terrible toll.

Examples of how this could happen:

Handcuffing Men With No Biological Connection

Handcuffing Men With No Biological Connection

Sara has just given birth. Andrew, at home on leave from the military, is at the hospital with his wife and is ecstatic at the thought of becoming a father and starting his own family.  A hospital staffer presents Andrew with a paternity acknowledgement form and he signs it without a second thought. Two years later, after a raging argument, Sara reveals the child is not his. She won’t identify the biological father and even after Andrew’s DNA test proves he is not related he is told the time limit to challenge paternity has passed and he is legally bound to pay support until the child is 18.

Teenager Anita gives birth – alone – and when she applies for state aid to help with her expenses she is told she must give the father’s name and his last known address. Anita, scared and broke, puts down the name of a long-ago boyfriend and a phony address. When boyfriend doesn’t show up in court (because how could he? He was never notified) an automatic default judgment is entered and he is on the hook for 18 years of child support.

Jose faced a similar situation except he was served with court papers. He shows up in court to explain that he hasn’t seen his former lover for two years. His offer to take a DNA test is ignored and without the money to hire a lawyer the process rolls over Jose.  He, too, is ordered to pay years of support for a child that isn’t his.

Children Deserve the Truth

Children Deserve the Truth

Hospitals take such great care to connect newborns to their mothers via matching identity bracelets and their nurseries have 24/7 security protection. But what do family courts do to insure a defenseless child is connected to the proper father? Next to nothing. They take the mother’s word on paternity – case closed.

Dianna Thompson is president of a non-profit group called Women Against Paternity Fraud. They want a federal law declaring that no paternity finding is final until a DNA test proves the identity of a biological father. And, they want consideration given to the other women involved in these almost unbelievable scenarios like grandmothers, sisters, aunts, girlfriends and wives of falsely accused men.

Thompson wrote to tell me this is more than just a problem for duped dads. She called it, “A national epidemic” and recounted the personal stories of some of her supporters. One woman didn’t discover her “Dad” wasn’t related to her until she was 50 and attending his funeral. Another also found her biological father’s family later in life and learned there was a history of breast cancer. Had she known she might have avoided the trauma of her own breast cancer.

Dianna Thompson, Co-Founder of WAPF

Dianna Thompson, Co-Founder of WAPF

Then there is the 13-year odyssey of WAPF’s co-founder, Alicia Thompson.

While waiting for her divorce to go through Alicia began a relationship with another man. Months later she became pregnant and DNA proved the boyfriend was the father. No matter, the court sited the ancient common law of “presumption of paternity” and declared the soon-to-be-ex-husband responsible to support the child. Alicia refused to let that stand and agreed to let her husband relinquish his parental rights. Her child was left fatherless in the eyes of the law. No medical insurance, no social security benefits or child support from her unsupportive biological father. Alicia continues to fight this unfairness.

There is a lot in this world that isn’t fair. This is one thing we have the power to change. Why don’t we?

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura Carter August 31, 2015 at 1:59 am

Something seriously needs to be done about paternity fraud. It’s a crime, but the criminal is rewarded and an innocent man suffers. DNA tests were not readily available until around 2010. My husband has been paying for a boy for 16 years that is not biologically his. He and his now ex wife were separated, she was having an affair, knew she was pregnant, tricked my husband into sleeping with her 1 time, told him she was pregnant. He had no idea she had been having an affair. She divorced him about 1 year after the child was born, and has been married to the boys biological father ever since. So we still have to pay them for their child. Thank God we only have 1 more year left but this is just so unbelievable. Definitely not in the childs best interest. The 2 year time limit in most states needs to be removed and changed so whenever DNA proves you are not the biological father support ends immediately.

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Paul August 31, 2015 at 3:41 am

There are always three direct victims, the defrauded ‘father’, the child and the biological father. Please don’t forget the biological father. You may not think of him as a victim because he was ‘having an affair’ but that’s not always true, i.e. he might not be aware that she is in a relationship, and even if he is that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a right to be a parent.

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Diane Dimond August 31, 2015 at 8:05 am

ABQ Journal Reader Jodi Burshia writes:

“Diane,
Thank you for your informative article on paternity fraud published in the Albuquerque Journal on Saturday, August 29, 2015. I’ve known very little about the legal loopholes that exist. Thank you for the education.
I’m glad that Alicia Thompson and the Women Against Paternity Fraud are working on these issues. What is being done in New Mexico, especially with Indigenous peoples? I’m asking as a Pueblo person, not as part of any organization or affiliation.
I’m also wondering about the links to school truancy and abseentesim and paternity. What types of information do you have in this area? I ask because I try to be aware of issues that impact Indigenous youth as they mitigate western school systems. Paternity fraud is an unfortunate aspect of this scenario. ”
Thank you,
Jodi Burshia

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Diane Dimond August 31, 2015 at 8:14 am

Jodi,
I thank you for writing. You might be interested to know that Dianna Thompson and her group in California are once again working on legislation to change the current paternity establishing situation there.
Dianna informs me that she helped craft such legislation in 2002 and it passed ! However, the then Governor Gray Davis vetoed it.
It’s a long road one takes to change a law but I’m glad there are people walking that road.
Sorry, I haven’t researched the issues of school truancy and absenteeism as it relates to false paternity. I’m hoping someone has. ~ DD

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Diane Dimond August 31, 2015 at 8:06 am

ABQ Journal Reader Jana Hazelbaker writes:

“Kudos for shining a light on but one of the vagaries of that kangaroo court known around the country as family court. What youcwrite about is a constitutional violation – there is no due process for the man wrongly forced to be — not the legal father in every sense of that word, but the provider (or more accurately, the mother’s wallet) — and someone should file suit, perhaps a class action one (?), in federal court.
I encourage you to keep this important issue alive.”

Regards,
Jana Hazelbaker
Albuquerque

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Diane Dimond August 31, 2015 at 8:07 am

Reader in Australia writes:

“A woman who commits this sort of crime would never be sorry nor would she regret it.
Because she gets to keep the fruits of her crime ie the child/children who would not have existed but for the crime itself.
And the man will walk away with nothing even if they are vindicated by a court.
As the non biological father the man will almost never get contact with the child.
Not to mention the damage that the man will suffer where there has been a total miscarriage of justice as in the case of Liam Magill.
The Magill case was decided by the High Court of Australia with one of its honoured judges, Susan Crennan, having committed the same crime back in the 60’s.
You can read about it all on the net.”

Cheryl King
Anti Paternity Fraud Advocate
Australia
http://www.justice4liam.com.au

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Diane Dimond August 31, 2015 at 8:59 am

Reader Prentice Reid writes from Georgia:

“I’m happy to be able to call Dianna (Thompson) an online friend of mine and am glad to be a supporter of Women Against Paternity Fraud. Guys if you have not looked this group up and attempted to donate to them I strongly encourage it. They are speaking on your behalf.”

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Diane Dimond August 31, 2015 at 8:59 am

Reader Rog Clarke responds:

“They also dont believe in equality of choice for men, they believe that responsibility for men starts at conception and thats where their right to choose is made when they decide to have sex with a woman, they want to retain the right of women to choose to keep the child put the child up for adoption, use a safe drop site or abort the child. they dont support equality for men in this area so be careful who you endorse.

https://youtu.be/dxYgxaXUR3Q?t=5m26s

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Kelli McCuistion August 31, 2015 at 11:14 am

Thank you Diane for bringing awareness to the issue of Paternity fraud. I am the wife of a Paternity fraud victim who has currently been enslaved by the state of California’s San Juaquin County.. The child he is forced to support is now 8 years old. He was a truck driver and had a one night stand, 6 months later the woman found him by calling the trucking company he was contracted with to tell him she was pregnant. He tried to do the right thing by signing the paternity affidavit but asked her if there was any reason he shouldn’t sign it. Of course she lied and said ” no, your the only one.” When the child turned two years of age she began dropping hints and saying things such as ” would you ever support a child that isn’t yours?” Which caused him to question paternity. We have done a home dna test as well as a legal test and confirmed the child is not his. It doesn’t matter to the court as they dismissed my husbands attempt to have the child support set aside. The woman has continued to lie not only to her friends and family but even to her church as well as she is dating the pastors son. This woman is a complete disgrace with now three children by three different fathers. The oldest is also not the biological child of the man paying support but he has decided its not worth fighting the system. The middle child is the one my husband has been paying on but refuses to have anything to do with her. And the youngest has no father. His alleged father disapeared before he was born. So she has three children by different fathers, no one knows the real fathers and she’s got her hands deep into two innocent mans pockets. Both my husband and the father of her oldest child make good money too so she’s got quite the scam going. My husbands money really goes back to the state to reimburse the welfare she’s been on for years however we found out they have finally forced her to get a job. Both these men she’s targeted should be relieved of child support and she should have to go after the real fathers as well as take responsibility for all the child she irresponsibly brought into this world by getting a job and supporting them. It pains me to see the role model they have,

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Natural December 25, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Why he decided to trust a random woman he only knew for about 6 months with the paternity of a child he believed to be his I have no idea. But some men really need to start waking up, actually give a damn about their future, and stop letting women get away with this shit so easily.

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Nicholas Hernandez April 21, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Ive been paying for a child 15 yrs here in Kern county. Mother allowed me to take a test do to the courts denying me twice. Test result verify im not the father now mother of the child claims its a fake test and said she will continue collecting CS. Very sad court is Tuesday hope for the best but really expecting the worst.. The system needs mad help paternity fraud is unacceptable

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Diane Dimond August 31, 2015 at 11:33 am

Noozhawk Reader politicalcynic writes:

“Might I point out that not determining actual parentage-and therefore making no effort to connect the child to their actual family-may also hurt others not listed here-including the REAL grandparents, aunts, uncles and other relatives who may never have the chance to know the child.

And for those of you who (as some are want to do) insist it has to be about “the women”-then might I also point out those other relatives are probably 50% female.”

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Diane Dimond August 31, 2015 at 11:34 am

Noozhawk Reader Onceler’s Revenge writes:

“put some money in the kids pocket and watch biological daddy appear on your doorstep as fast as greyhound can get him there.”

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Diane Dimond August 31, 2015 at 11:37 am

Noozhawk Reader Lou Segal writes:

“Some of the examples cited by Diane are outrageous. A judicial system that would force a virtual stranger to pay child support is out of control. For some reason guys have 2 strikes against them in almost all matters regarding divorce, custody/visitation and child support. I always advise anyone who asks to be very careful before marrying anyone, because if anything goes wrong it can be a nightmare to unwind it. // These things happen in unmarried separations, also, especially when a child is involved. It’s as if the child is fodder for control freaks, both father and mother.”

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Diane Dimond August 31, 2015 at 11:37 am

Noozhawk Reader Originalist writes:

“Sounds like Dimond has daddy issues.”

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Diane Dimond August 31, 2015 at 11:38 am

Dear Originalist:

Nope. I havehad no issues at all with my father, may he rest in peace. I look just like him so there’s no doubt. He was a fine man of integrity.
Strange that THAT would be your reaction to this column about family court shortcomings. Hmmmm. ~ DD

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Diane Dimond August 31, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Twitter Pal TweetingAlong66 writes:
]
“@DiDimond Wow! Your column in the Saturday ABQ Journal is spot on! Paternity Fraud is so wrong. Thank you.”

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Diane Dimond September 1, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Reader Murray Davis writes:

“Once again, Diane “hits the nail squarely on the head” by clearly explaining the issue in terms most everyone can relate to. PF needs to be seen not only as just a duped dads issue, but as she explains…it’s a national disgrace and a felony crime, due to the enormous sums of monies at stake currently without due process or justice for its victims.

Murray Davis
Board President
National Family Justice Association

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Lefty Is Right September 1, 2015 at 10:22 pm

This article hits the nail on the head! Individuals who aren’t in the middle of these situations don’t understand how these overbearing laws regarding very intimate family issues can work horrors. As I’ve worked as a lawyer for some domestic cases I’ve seen it myself, but sadly almost no one knows about these concerns until it’s too late for them to be proactive. Thanks for the article!

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Diane Dimond September 2, 2015 at 10:50 am

Noozhawk Reader PBinLosAngeles LW4SP writes:

“Diane, Thank you for writing an important article that many others don’t have the courage to cover. We’ve shared this with members of the Commission to Create a White House Council for Boys and Men and a number of other interested friends / organizations. Its also our post today on our Facebook, Linked In and Twitter pages.

Occasionally, these cases make headlines as happened earlier this year with the case of Carnell Alexander http://www.wxyz.com/news/judge

More often however, such instances go uncovered by the media, leaving the public to believe these are extremely rare instances of injustice.

For those of us interested in the best public policy we can have, let us just ask one question:

Why can a man use genetic testing to defend himself against a murder charge, but not against paying up to 23 years of child support for a child that everyone agrees isn’t his?

Kudos for bringing this issue to light and we hope you’ll cover it again in the future.

///Paternity Fraud is the only article of court or law, wherein scientific proof of innocence does not exonerate.”

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Diane Dimond September 2, 2015 at 10:55 am

Noozhawk Reader James Smith writes:

“What about the boys under 18…that are raped by older women and then forced to pay child support to them when they get pregnant?”

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Diane Dimond September 2, 2015 at 10:56 am

Dear Mr. Smith:

“I’d be interested to learn the facts of such a case(s). Links please?” ~ DD

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Diane Dimond September 2, 2015 at 11:01 am

Noozhawk Reader Wiley writes:

“These situations raise issues that are more complicated than the author acknowledges or that the proposed legislation would solve.

In the case of “Sara and Andrew” is it really fair for a two year old to lose her father, even if he wasn’t biologically her father? Did he stop loving the child when he stopped loving the mother? What if the situation was turned around and he wanted joint custody but the mother insisted he wasn’t the father? At some point a child deserves certainty about who his parents are.

The two cases with “Anita” and “Jose” are similar in that they involve unmarried couples, and I agree that neither outcome is satisfactory. But who is supposed to pay for all of the DNA tests? Maybe whichever parent who wants to contest paternity can do so, but if they are wrong about their contention they pay the testing cost and if they are correct, the other parent pays it? But are we really going to force men to take DNA tests against their will?

Then finally Dianne. Did DNA really prove that the boyfriend was the father or just that the husband was not the father? Did he consent to a DNA test?”

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Diane Dimond September 2, 2015 at 11:01 am

Here’s what you need to know: There are COUNTLESS cases, Wiley, of men who have been ordered to pay child support for a child DNA tests prove he could never in a million years be the parent of. Clumsy sentence – but accurate. After paternity is set a DNA test means nothing to a family court judge…it is rarely changed.
And, in all cases, if a man is married to the mother he is responsible for the child’s support – period – even if a DNA test proves he has no biological connection ~ DD

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Rachel September 3, 2015 at 11:51 am

Diane,
Great article and I am so excited to see awareness brought to this issue. I met Diana Thompson six months ago when she opened her office in the building where I work. I asked her about her organization because I had no idea what paternity fraud was and I was completely off base. I thought it may be something along the lines of switching DNA results but when she explained to me what it actually was I just couldn’t believe her. It was so outrageous and unbelievable. She directed in the right direction to research for myself and then I was just sick from what I read. A father in Kern County could lose his drivers license or have jail time if he doesn’t pay child support. I think those are good sanctions for non complying fathers and now to know this also happens to men who are not the legal father? It is so hard to believe. I feel for the men who this affects but more so for the children. Every person I have told about paternity fraud has no idea this is happening. Thank you again for helping to bring more awareness to this issue.

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Louie September 9, 2015 at 4:42 pm

This is an excellent article and I appreciate you bringing the spotlight back on this subject. But, I think the issue is a much bigger than just paternity fraud.

As the lack of consequences for paternity fraud illustrate, men have no reproductive choices.

Men are continually stuck funding the reproductive choice of another. Consent to have sex is consent to parenthood for a man. It is not consent for a woman.

Women won the right to abortion with slogans like “Every child a wanted child” and arguments stating that parenthood should not be a penalty for contraception failure and/or sex. Why not allow the man to give up the unwanted child pre-birth adopt to the mother? If she then decides she doesn’t want to be a parent, she still has abortion, safe haven and adoption as choices to opt out of parenthood.

The bigger issue is that men are essentially treated as financial slaves in all areas of reproduction, and in some, even if they don’t reproduce…

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Jami December 2, 2016 at 12:44 pm

I am with someone who found out a year ago he isn’t the bio father to 3 out of 4 of his children. He found out after his ex took the kids away visitations way because she was upset he was happy and dating me. She took them he filed paperwork with the court and it took six months for the court to Force her to give visitation back. Upon the first visit they told him he wasn’t there dad and that her current boyfriend who she left him for was in fact the father. We ran DNA test and he isn’t the bio dad. Apparently she cheated 10 years ago and had a baby with a man who knew she was married. That relationship ended with her having that mans baby and her then dating his best friend. She then continued to date this man for the next 8 or so year the whole time married. She had 2 children which were known by her family and her boyfriend’s family to be his children. The whole time going home and telling her husband they were his. (I need to add he was away for work a lot, it gave her the ability to cheat and not be caught). He trusted his wife. Now she and her boyfriend live and raise the kids together and he is stuck paying child support for this man and his “best friend’s” children. The worst part is the two of them have convinced all 3 kids that her boyfriend is the bio dad and that they should hate and make up lies about her ex, my children, and me. The courts do nothing. On top of all this she is now faced with 21 charges for fraud on the welfare system and perjury (20 felony counts) and her boyfriend was her co-conspirator. still the courts leave the children in her care. They don’t even make her take them to counseling. How can the court find its in the best interest of the children or either man? Why so the courts charge and prosecute her for welfare fraud and Grandtheft but ate her to do the same thing to a private individual? The only difference between the two issues is for him not only did she still his children and/or money but she crushed his world. The almost 100,000 she fraudulently got from the county doesn’t personally ruin an individuals life unlike the specific lie. Now he has to live with paying child support to a point he can’t afford to live himself. It’s sad someone can make about $30 an hour but take home less then minimum wage over a provable Lie. These laws need to change! Especially when he found out and she tells him “there isn’t anything you, your time is up”. She clearly knew what she was doing.

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