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DNA testing combats paternity fraud

With fewer couples choosing to wait until marriage to have children, issues surrounding paternity have been on the rise in Colorado. Sometimes a mother may mistakenly identify someone as the father of her child, while other times a woman may purposefully name someone as the father in order to fraudulently collect child support or to qualify for welfare.

Identigene, a DNA testing company, reports that as many as 30 percent of children have a biological father who is different from the one named on their birth certificate. Even if the mother is truly unaware that she has incorrectly named someone as the father, that man may legally be subject to certain financial obligations, based on his mistaken parentage.

If someone suspects that they may not be the father of a child, taking a court admissible DNA test is the first step toward establishing the child's true parentage. Home paternity tests are not admissible in a court of law. Although the DNA testing may have to be paid for out of pocket, the cost of paying continued child support is infinitely more expensive. According to the Cleveland Clinic, DNA testing can even confirm paternity before a child is born.

Once paternity fraud is discovered, a number of complications can arise. The relationship between the mother and the supposed father may deteriorate. If the alleged father has developed a close relationship with the child, he may feel differently upon learning he is not the biological father. Finally, the man may seek court intervention to try to receive compensation for the money he has put out to support a child that is not his.

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