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How can you prevent paternity fraud?

Of course, it's important that fathers take responsibility for helping to raise and be a role model for their children, even if they are no longer in a relationship with the mother. Financial responsibility is also part of being a father. However, many men throughout Texas and the rest of the country paying child support for children who are not theirs.

Sometimes this is an honest mistake. The man and woman both believe that the child is his. However, too often, it's the result of paternity fraud, which is illegal. Women who commit paternity fraud may not want to admit that they were unfaithful or they may believe that the man whom they claim is the father can provide better financial support than the child's biological father.

Although paternity can be proven through DNA testing, many men accept financial responsibility for a child without verifying that they are indeed the biological father. Perhaps they believe the child is theirs or they simply don't want to go through a court battle. Even singer Ne-Yo was paying child support for a child who wasn't his until a DNA test proved that he wasn't the father.

In 2011, Texas legislators passed a law that gives men the opportunity to contest their paternity of a child. While the law isn't perfect, some family law attorneys still recommend that any divorcing client take a paternity test. This could potentially prevent some men from having to pay child support.

If a man has had a close relationship with a child, he may still choose to continue that relationship, particularly if the biological father isn't in the picture. However, at least any financial support he chooses to provide to the child would be at his discretion rather than mandated by the courts.

If you have reason to believe that a child you have been supporting isn't biologically yours, it's wise to consult with a Texas family law attorney to determine what your options are and how best to proceed.

Source: Madame Noire, "Paternity Fraud: If a a man grows close to a child he finds out is not his, should be still provide for them?," Deja Jones, accessed Dec. 30, 2015

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