Kevin Qualls Family Law
Maintaining Professionalism. Preserving Civility. Finding Answers. Practical Guidance On Important Divorce And Custody Matters

What can I do if I suspect paternity fraud?

Usually, unmarried couples who elect to establish a man's paternity outside of court do so by agreement because it is easier, and less time-consuming and expensive, than going through the entire process of establishing paternity.

In fact, signing California's Declaration of Paternity form may keep Orange County parents out of court altogether, such is in a case where they plan to raise the child cooperatively and thus would have no urgent need to obtain orders setting up custody, parenting time and child support.

As previous posts on this blog have explained, the Declaration of Paternity makes a man the father of the child listed on the Declaration, at least in the eyes of the law. No further proof is required, which, for all of its convenience, means that paternity fraud is a real possibility.

Paternity fraud occurs when a man is somehow tricked in to declaring officially that he is legally the father of a child when the mother knows, or has every reason to know, that such is not the case. People engage in paternity fraud for a number of reasons. For instance, a mom may do so in order to ensure their own, and their child's financial security.

While in the grand scheme of things paternity fraud is relatively rare, it can happen to anyone. If someone believes he is a victim of paternity fraud and has signed a Declaration, then options are available.

When this family law issue is caught early, that is, within 60 days after the man signed the Declaration, then he will need to go through the process of rescinding, or taking back, the Declaration by signing the proper form. Doing so will mean he will not be treated as the legal father of the child automatically.

Even after 60 days elapse, other options may be available. However, these will often involve going to court, so an Orange County resident should strongly consider speaking to an experienced attorney about them.

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