Everybody and their single mama knows about deadbeat dads. One topic that we tend to be ignorant about is paternity fraud. Paternity fraud is when a woman lies about the identity of the father of her child, usually for financial gain and often without his knowledge. The crime manifests through a variety of ways including, but not limited to, a woman having sex with an intoxicated man while dating another, a woman impregnating herself with a used condom, and a woman simply naming a man as the father without his knowledge.
Naturally, many of these men get arrested for being a "deadbeat." Others are forced to pay for a child that isn't theirs, and others grow attached to the child in the years before learning the truth. If all this isn't bad enough, there are several laws in place that allow the crime and the punishments to happen. The following two stories illustrate paternity fraud and the laws that protect it.
- Gabriel Cornejo
In 2016, Gabriel Cornejo, a husband with three legitimate kids, got a visit from a deputy. This deputy informed him that he owes $65,000 in unpaid child support. It all started in 2003, when a former girlfriend went to court for child support and named him the father. She also lied that he was the only possible father. In spite of Cornejo never being informed about fathering the child nor about the court order until the deputy's arrival, the bills added up.
Gabriel met "his" daughter for the first time that year. He also took a DNA test, which confirmed that the 15-year-old was not his. Some states -- including Texas, in this case -- require men to pay the money that was charged before the paternity test proved that they were not the father. In other words, despite lying in court, using her child to extort money, and being proven to have done this, this woman is being rewarded with money from an innocent man who already has legitimate kids to support. Otherwise, he is the one who goes to prison.
- Carnell Alexander
Carnell Alexander allegedly fathered a child in 1987. In 1991, he was arrested during a traffic stop for not paying child support. The problem was, he didn't have any children. Not only that, he was incarcerated for an unrelated offense at the time that an ex named him the father on a welfare application. Also, the notices for his paternity hearing were sent to an old address. In some states -- including Michigan, in this case -- men are made the dad by default if they don't show up for a hearing.
In 2016, Carnell won his case, but it took over 20 years to get there. Like many men dealing with paternity fraud, he couldn't afford a decent lawyer. He eventually did find the mother, who admitted to lying for welfare benefits, and that the real father was in the child's life. Hell, Carnell even got tested, though the law in some states say that a paternity test has to be done within three years or so of being named the father. The judge was not impressed. Alexander was faced with a choice of either paying $30,000 for a child that wasn't his, or going to prison.
How many victims of paternity fraud are there? The answer is a skewered one, and it hasn't been updated in years. American Association of Blood Banks puts this figure at 28% of men who get a DNA test. According to the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, the rates are between 0.8% to 30%, with a median of 3.7% across the world. 28% may not seem like much, but when you do the math -- 28 percent of the 280,000 annual tests in the U.S. -- that makes 78,400 men "responsible" for someone else's kid!
A great book called Men on Strike gives four tips for men to keep from getting tricked into a pregnancy. As told by Professor Michael J. Higdon of the University of Tennessee Law School:
1. Don’t have sex.
2. Get a vasectomy.
3. Use protection.
4. Keep said protection and destroy it when you are finished. Flush a condom and make sure it went down. There have been cases where women fished condoms out of the garbage or took the condom and used it to impregnate themselves.
For more information on paternity fraud and your options, I suggest looking up lawyers who specialize in these cases, and websites like the following:
Let's end this politically correct "why would a woman lie?" mentality and look at the facts. Otherwise, your son will be the next one in prison for not paying for a child that was proven not to be his, and the woman will have no repercussions.