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Is Paternity Fraud really a “ticking time bomb”?

Apparently there are millions of fathers around the world who are, unwittingly, raising other men’s children as their own. Worse still, if it can be worse, they have all been duped at the hands of wicked mothers, who care not for a partner’s “right” to know the truth. This horrifying behaviour is called “Paternity Fraud”.

Matthew Syed has written about Paternity Fraud in The Times:

“It hardly needs stating that this is scandalous. To put the interests of the child above the father’s right to know may sound benign but it is deeply pernicious. Imagine a man whose bank account is covertly robbed to pay for the upbringing of a child with whom he has no kinship. To inform the man of the fraud would clearly be contrary to the interests of the child. Would we really say that he should not be told?”

The feature cites cases of celebrities who have attempted to escape the consequences of their paternity. It quotes statistics which, at closer range, appear to be largely unproven. Mr Syed’s view about Paternity Fraud – or “PF”, as he calls it – is as follows:

“PF is unlike any other crime: it is a deception that reaches deep into our evolutionary selves. The urge to propagate one’s genes, to nurture one’s own flesh and blood, is the most basic of all impulses. A single DNA test might not merely unravel a lifetime of commitment; it could make a mockery of one’s raison d’être.”

I carefully read through this article several times, and tried to find the relevant statistical evidence to back up the claims about those millions of duped men across the planet. I found little. There are references made to a “current best estimate” and “unpublished data”, which apparently adds up to tens of thousands of men in this country and tens of millions worldwide. However hard data, to prove these claims beyond reasonable doubt, is not in evidence.

So is this issue as rampant and universal as Mr Syed would have us believe? He can only quote from one unpublished survey, which drew upon DNA samples from an unnamed number of “volunteer families” in the UK and identified an estimated Paternity Fraud rate of 7 per cent. Among a group of volunteer Ashkenazi Jews, the estimated Paternity Fraud rate was nil. The hysteria makes for good headlines, certainly, but is it founded in fact?

In the UK there were no restrictions on paternity tests until the Human Tissue Act 2004 came into force in September 2006. Section 45 states that it is an offence to possess without appropriate consent any human bodily material with the intent of analysing its DNA. Legally declared fathers have access to paternity testing under the new regulations, provided the parental DNA being tested is their own. They may not test other people’s DNA without their consent. Tests may however be ordered by courts when proof of paternity is required and the Ministry of Justice accredits bodies that can conduct this testing.

So should there ever be an unqualified and unregulated “right to know” as this journalist suggests, without recourse first of all to the courts to consider the whole matter in detail? I could not disagree more strongly.

The journalist argues for the rights of the father over the rights of the child. But that is not how the law relating to children is applied. The welfare of the (wholly innocent) child takes precedence and is paramount. Once a case comes to court I of course accept that honesty and the “right to know” is the most likely outcome, it being generally accepted that it is usually in the best interests of the child to know its origins.

But it isn’t a foregone conclusion and if there are cogent reasons, such as compelling psychiatric evidence that a child will be profoundly harmed by being told the truth, the court will have to weigh up the pros and cons and make a carefully considered order. They will always act on the fundamental basis that the welfare of the child is paramount and consider if the most serious long-term harm could be caused to a child who casually learns the truth of his or her parentage.

In any event, for all those tens of thousands of fathers who we are led to believe may be fretting about the paternity of their children, consider this: does it really matter whether a child is the biological offspring of his or her father? Does it really matter if a loving father and his child never find out? What harm is being done to the man, child or woman concerned – that is until they find out and the predictable fallout occurs? And yes, I have noted the practical arguments about possible, unintentional incest in the future– but is that barely a possibility, let alone a probability?

As a divorce lawyer who has acted for some 12,000 clients over the past 30 years, I wearied of the blame game long ago. I have spent my professional life advising many, many men and women who have been caught in the adultery trap. They are not monsters; they are human beings.

Nor do I believe that women who have had affairs are fundamentally wicked creatures who should be required to confess all, if they have become pregnant by one man and have decided to save their relationship by shielding a partner and child – and, in most cases, themselves – from the truth.

Human beings aren’t robots. Life happens to all of us. In the cases that I encounter, the truth has come out and the relationship has cracked beyond repair. In such cases the divorce won’t necessarily have been caused by the adulterous actions, but by the subsequent knowledge of those actions and the inability of both parties to move on.

In Webb v Chapman [2009] EWCA Civ 55 a father tried to sue his ex-wife for deceiving him over the paternity of her daughter. The couple divorced after a DNA test when the child was over 18 showed that the husband was not in fact the daughter’s genetic father. He unsuccessfully claimed damages against his ex-wife and her new partner at Bournemouth County Court and applied, unsuccessfully, to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal against the ruling of the court below. Given all the hassle caused, I wonder, was it ultimately worth it?

The “right to know” is also acknowledged by Mr Syed to have wrought appalling effects on fathers who have found out the truth: “anger, angst and even metaphysical confusion”. He acknowledges that the ripple effect of knowing the truth has serious ramifications, not only for the man and woman, but also for the child. Not forgetting the siblings, the wider family, the biological father, the community and so on.

So here is a question to which I have no doubt you will all have different opinions. Can all that harm and all that trauma be justified simply because of the man’s “right to know”?

I don’t think it is. I don’t support the decision by Boots to sell paternity testing kits over the counter.  Experience has taught me, time and time again, that no good comes of opening Pandora’s Box. All over the world, people make mistakes.  Sometimes they come to regret those mistakes. But “knowing” at the expense of an innocent child and the wider families seems to me to be selfish beyond measure. Sometimes in society we consider our “rights” to be so sacrosanct, so precious and important, we become deliberately or unintentionally oblivious of the harm that “rights” can do to others.

As a pragmatist, a realist and someone who is firmly on the side of the wholly innocent child, I believe that the “right to know” should always come second. And as for selling paternity kits over the counter? They should be banned.

The founder of Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known family law solicitors and divorce lawyers. She retired from Stowe Family Law in 2017.

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  1. Is Paternity Fraud really a “ticking time bomb”? « Untouched Smile | Care Your Child says:

    […] Is Paternity Fraud really a “ticking time bomb”? is a post from: Marilyn Stowe Family Law and Divorce Blog […]

    • stressowl says:

      A lot of these same arguments can be made to defend beating your wife. Is the woman’s safety really worth the man not letting his anger out? nazis don’t think so. See how insane that sounds?

      If someone does something wrong, innocent people shouldn’t have to be punished for your terrible actions. What’s best for the child is growing up in a society that is honest, fair, and protects its citizens, even at the cost of abusive, cheating monsters facing the consequences of their actions.

  2. Katie Leaver says:

    Paternity is such a delicate issue and really needs to be weighed up before establishing the truth. Do you think there will ever be a common consensus on the issue?
    Katie Leaver, LondonlovesJobs

    • Robert says:

      You know in most countries were paternity is nigh important, family feuds started for less. The family line is important, if you can’t be trusted to maintain paternity why should your family or any other trust you? A person like that couldn’t be trusted from everything from land and money dealings. In some countries irrigation is done by family lines. If I can’t trust someone to control themselves how can I trust that person in doing something important. The long answer, you cant and that person becomes persona non grata to the community never mind the family.

    • Bob says:

      Yes the child is wholly innocent but does that justify the obscene situation where a man is taken to the cleaners for 20 years over a deception? DNA testing should be a right for both parents and, on reaching maturity, the child itself.

      • Andrew says:

        There is a case on another blog (suespicious minds) about a man in this situation. After five years he was able to recover what he had been cheated into spending on repairs to the house where the mother and another man’s child were living but not the maintenance he had been cheated into paying – preposterous.

    • stressowl says:

      If your set of morals requires you to lie, hide the truth, and to protect abusers at the cost of their victims, you might need a new set of morals.

  3. Thomas says:

    I am currently facing this very issue. Although I harbor no animosity or resentment toward the child (a victim also), it is impossible for me to even think about this child without realizing the deception and lies that I may have fallen victim to. I may have lost 16 years of my life for staying with a women I could not stand, all for “best interest of the child”. The best interest of the child is the TRUTH! Of course one must understand that Child Support Agencies across the nation love to use this “best interest of the child” BULLSHIT argument because they have an incentive to maintain every order at the highest level they can. What incentive one may ask? The Federal Government robs your money from the Social Security Trust Fund and gives it to the “Department of Health and Human Services” of each State, the amount they get is determined by the number and dollar amount of orders the Child Support Agency can have on the books. Simply put the more orders at the highest possible amount = more dollars for the department, all under the guise of operating as if they are a “Save the Children Foundation” and society buys it hook line and sinker unaware that the Feds are using their Social Security money to pay for it all. The reality is, that those who raise this “best interest of the child” argument really mean best interest of the Department. It is not realistic to think that most men are going to maintain a normal father /child relationship if or when the man finds out he has been duped by some lying conniving b**&%. In my case the mother cheated on me numerous times, was abusive and stole from my family . I am not responsible for cleaning up her lying mess! If the child is not mine then it is up to her to explain it to him because I will be out of it. All I request is for you readers, not to judge these fathers until you have walked in their shoes! Do you expect a POW to continue to maintain a relationship with his captors? NO, you would not. Do you really think that just because a court may be persuaded to base their decision on the “best interest of the child” argument, that is will make a man maintain a relationship that likely would have never even occurred had he only knew the truth? Of course it is not really about maintaining a father/child relationship it is about maintaining a cash cow for the Department! Think about this, if you were wrongly imprisoned and DNA could clear you, do you feel you would have a right for testing? Or, do you feel it is in the best interest of the family of the victim that you remain in prison so they can have some closure? Fact is a crime is a crime and these women who commit paternity fraud need held accountable, it is fraud and they should be charged with it!

  4. Pippa says:

    If the concept of a Big Society is to be reached in this country there needs to be acceptance that Paternity Fraud should be pursued with the same venom as all other types of fraud.

    Fathers that pay child support should have open access to paternity tests; the right to peace of mind testing should be offered to all fathers that pay through the CSA. The stigma of requesting tests needs to be removed; it is not just fathers attempting to abdicate financial responsibility.

    I am sadly all to aware of the holes in the system; fathers that have been knowingly duped have no legal recourse within the UK whilst mothers that have significantly financially gained through dishonesty are allowed to blissfully continue as it is in the emotional interests of the cuckoo child to maintain the status quo.

    Where do the rights of the cuckoo child end and the rights of the second family begin?

    The right of the cuckoo child to discover the identity of the biological parent is also not enshrined in law. So the deceit can never truly be unravelled.

    The enterprising woman who knowingly names a different man to the biological father for financial gain should be punished legally and forced to name the biological father.

    Sadly, as long as someone is paying and someone is taking responsibility for cuckoo children the laws will not be toughened up.

    In any other case of fraud the accomplices identity would be established and the fraudster would be punished further for not disclosing such individuals.

    Emotion needs to be removed and the principle that miscarriages of justice should be corrected and people that gain financially through fraudulent activities need to be punished; corner stones of UK Law in all other aspects.

    What better lesson to teach children than cheaters never prosper?

  5. Richard says:

    After reading the above and the comments by Pippa and Thomas.

    I agree with Pippa that fraud is fraud regardless of who is involved. I feel that it is correct to remove the emotion and look at the FACTS. Once established that a paternity fraud has taken place, would that stop or interfere with parenting. Maybe but regardless of the facts it is important to realise that parenting must continue to be constructive even if as a result a relationship breaks down.

    Isnt setting good examples for your offspring globally much more important than the feelings of one individual.

    There are far to many examples of excuses used and not enough valid reasons. You only have to watch one or two episodes of Jeremy Kyle to see that in action. Where has the responsibility and accountability gone.

  6. mike says:

    What an absolutley appalling attitude! I was kept from my daughter for 18 months over the PF committed by my then partner who thought it was up to her to decide who daddy was and cover up her affair.
    Sureley every child has a right to know who they’re parents are?
    It would seem most of the comments are in this vein so perhaps its time you woke up and smelt the coffee?

  7. Marilyn Stowe says:


    If you read the rest of my blog you will see that I appear to be a lone voice seeking parental rights enshrined in law in relation to children.
    However that is always subject to the welfare of the child and in such a very delicate situation, the welfare of the child should always trump the conduct of the mother however unforgiveable it may be.
    Ultimately I would expect a court to order a child to be told of his or her paternity, but sometimes that might not be until the child has come of age.
    I dont support the proposition that in such circumstances a child should simply be told without the most careful consdieration and the involvement of the court.

  8. Observer says:

    I was not aware of how common this is, and have no doubts at all that it is as common as they say.

    I am not surprised one bit to learn this, though, and would not be surprised if we also learned how desperately the state has tried to cover this sort of thing up.

    This is just another pathological symptom of how children are treated as goods/possessions by the all-powerful institution called motherhood under late capitalism. It is not the mothers’ fault so much as the expectations placed upon them within an highly unethical free market economy. I really do worry about the extent to which motherhood has become an institution and instrument of state control.

    I do believe (and I think any child who has been the victim of such heinous deception on the part of their mothers) that the immediate truth is less painful than one learned later, when it is realized one’s whole life has been a lie.

    From the state’s point of view, obviously, the more criminal deception the better; that way, some victim of a dad has to foot the bill instead of the state. This would also explain how something like this has become so common.

    From the child’s point of view, however, it will be traumatic once the truth gets out, as it always does, somewhere along the line. This type of thing is life-ruining, and it is the type of thing that perhaps only a father could have the foresight to appreciate.

    I therefore have to disagree with Marilyn that waiting is the best thing to do, and think that fathers should have the right to request paternity checks at birth to avoid these crimes from being drawn out.

  9. Richard says:

    Why is it socially unacceptable to ask for a paternity test ?

    Why should I just trust someone’s word on this issue or any man for that matter ??????

    I think Paternity Fraud should be a criminal offence and where a mother is found guilt of committing this crime, then any future offspring should be automatically tested, to determine the father.

  10. Kelly says:

    This lady couldn’t be more wrong. If I found the hospital had given me the wrong child I would cry.

  11. LegalExpert says:

    It’s not that she is wrong Kelly. It’s that we’ve had decades of mind-washing about the unimportance of dads, to the point where paternity is just about the least important thing in the world. That is what makes it easy for people to be insensitive to the feelings of dads regarding such things, and that is what allows the abuse of children to continue in this country.

  12. Dave says:

    Using the logic in the article, one can easily create why raped women should never report their story to the police 🙂

  13. Nesa Simon David says:

    It’s a bit disingenious for a *woman* to be preaching to us that PF is no big deal and that men should just accept it…

    What if I, a man, said that rape is “no big deal.. It’s sorta like having sex.. i mean seriously how bad can it be”?

  14. Irlande says:

    I am going to repeat what I have often written on blogs. The problem is most women have no idea at all what most men think and feel, but believe they know better than men what men should think.

    This is because nearly 50 years ago a strong feminist movement began to demand changs in both the US and UK. And, they made a lot of effort to silence men on the needed debates. No matter how insane the changes in the laws were, men quickly learned their careers would be over if they publicly objected.

    Over that 50 years, with no input from men, groups of women have decided for themselves what men SHOULD think, then accepted that as gospel truth. Any man who doesn’t agree is treated as a criminal.

    Now, you have wandered so far from reality, as far as what men do think and feel, that you have actually come up with complicated reasoning why men’s feelings have no value in court, if some clever lawyer can present a theory as to why it is not in the best interest of a child to consider a man’s feelings.

    There is a concept not often understood by courts and attorneys. The will to be governed. If a people lose the will to be governed, there is no power big enough to control them.

    While you do the equivalent of debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, men are refusing to subject themselves to your insane marriage; divorce; and child support laws.

    In a recent year, the absolute number of marriages in UK was reported as the lowest since 1895, though the population is much greater. I think it’s running around 18 per 1,000 unmarried women. US is around 33. NZ around 28.

    Also, you have in the past commented about men doing the right thing by their children, with no apparent grasp that women are not doing the right thing by their children.

    Historically, women doing the right thing by their children meant women waiting to have sex until they find a man willing to enter a permanent bond, agreeing to take the woman and any children he produced into his home, and support them. Also, she was expected to avoid sex with other men.

    Now, you are apparently the first to believe women should not be expected to do the right thing by their children, but men are still supposed to do their traditional right thing. Are you nuts or something?

  15. Observer says:

    If having a child and watching them grow up was not the greatest joy in life, I would strongly recommend that all men stay away from any form of unguarded intercourse or commitment to the female species.

    That’s how rotten things are for fathers in this country who find themselves in the unfortunate position of a duped sperm donor who has now been kicked aside. And what happens when he then makes his application for this discriminatory and demeaning thing called contact? We all know that story?

  16. George says:

    I cannot agree more with Irlande !

  17. Tera says:

    To those people who think it’s OK to withhold a father’s right to know if he is the actual biological father – consider the discovery of a mix-up in a maternity ward a couple months after birth. Should the courts block any attempt to determine who the actual mothers are of each baby – or would we all just say “Just be happy with whichever baby you’re holding, it doesn’t really matter if the baby is yours biologically”?

  18. Darigan Liber says:

    I must respectfully disagree with your opinion. The issue inherent in paternity fraud isn’t really about the man’s “right to know”, but it is fundamentally about fairness.

    I think I shall not belabor the points already strongly made by previous commenters. Instead, I would propose a practical solution to the problem of paternity fraud: Default Genetic Paternity Testing.

    It really is rather simple. When the baby is born, or before the birth certificate is signed, hospitals should conduct a genetic paternity test, and submit the results to the father. If it is found that he is not the genetic father, then he should be given the option to accept the child or to disclaim paternity (and seek divorce for adultery). If he chooses not to go ahead with the test, or takes no action after the results, then he is statutorily estopped from denying his paternity.

    It is reliable, and it is cheap (the costs are offset by the reduced expenditure on future litigation), and it is non-invasive.

    More importantly, it accounts for the interests of both the man and the child. The child will never face the emotional trauma of losing a father, because the parent-child relationship has not developed.

    The only counterargument might be that: “Well, we’d be depriving the child of a father nonetheless”, but 1) single parenthood is not impossible, and there are social institutions available to support the child, 2) the mother may well be able to find another willing father, and 3) the avoidance of single-parenthood alone is not sufficient justification for forcing a man to take up fatherhood responsibilities. Single parenthood is an unfortunate problem, but the solution cannot possibly be to force fatherhood on a man without his consent.

    Genetic paternity testing at birth should therefore be made a default procedure.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Thanks that’s interesting.
      My point in this post has been misunderstood by many readers. I don’t dispute the right to know, but I strongly think the interests of the child come first. So it is ultimately a matter for the courts if this comes to light during a child’s infancy.
      I agree that a partner should know if he is the father of a child he believes to be his. I’m not arguing against that. All I am saying is that there is a wholly innocent defenceless child too and the child’s interests as to if when and how must be fully ring fenced first.

  19. Jim says:

    So, if the child’s best interest comes first why not grab a random man off the street and force him to financially support the child? He has as much biological relationship to the child as the duped father. The responsible one for this mess is the mother. Paternity fraud should be illegal and the mothers who commit it should be jailed. People don’t make mistakes, they make choices. And they must pay for them.

  20. james says:

    dig this…
    if the emotional bond between between and child is what feminists “worry” about, what defrauded men can do is stop paying for child support but keep the emotional bond,ie keep being the dad without paying….
    after all these years of alienating men from families, women are conveniently saying that men are now important to the child!!
    women should have some balls and come out and say that all they actually want is the money. they actually don’t care if the men are around.. when it comes to a divorce, the kid don’t need men, when they need they money, suddenly they have the balls to teach men fatherhood…

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      What I find interesting about all those men who have commented so savagely only from their own perspective, is this:- what about their own relationship with the child? How are they able to cast off this innocent child, who they have known from birth, have nurtured raised bonded and parented: without a backwards glance caring only about money and themselves?
      What kind of people are they? what type of parent are they really?

      • Jason McHugh says:

        What type of woman would lie about such things? Why do you excuse that?

        Shouldn’t the women come clean at the start? Why is all the mens fault?

        As for the reason why, you would probably still love the child, but you would look at that child and it would be a reminder of of the years spent living a lie and utter stupidity for trusting that person.

        Basically you’re saying men should let people lie to them, the government force them to take on responsibilities that shouldn’t have been theirs in the first place.

        Nothing screams injustice more then being held responsible for something you didn’t do. Like someone else said, might as well pick the first man off the street and force him to sign the papers.

        This is why, as someone who considers himself a liberal, I hate feminism soooo much.

  21. JamesB says:

    It is insane to chuck the man out and then expect the fatherhood and money without the money. It’s like expecting to have the sandy beach experience without getting it in your pants. Or pie and chips without the pie, or an electric iron without the electricity, or a car without the fuel, etc. Could spend an evening typing these. The sun without the rain, the money without the work (oh dear, bit too close to the truth that one).

    But what really bugs me the most with your last post Marilyn is the emotional blackmail. Laying that thickly on to men who have been completely dumped on that they must now support the person who has done this while they date and bring the chap back to the house they paid for, and in the name of the children who the man brought up hoping they would be together and not be separate is sick really. Also, you are wrong when you say you divorce your partner and not your partner from his children that is naive and untrue and evil to advise women that. Then blaming men when the nonsense that they initiate and vicious separations they generate affect the children is also very very bad form. No, it is not on when something goes wrong to just blame the men, that is lazy and tbh I agree with the Irish chap earlier that people (myself included) will vote with our feet against that one. Indeed, so many are, I can hear them marching. Then if you marry them against their will they will bring down that law as well. As the man said, you cannot govern without consent and you and the feminists and the family law courts (and increasingly, worryingly, the Government) no longer have it. Also, it’s poor form to call the comments savage. I wonder how you would react to having everything you have worked for (including your family) taken away in the name of feminism and asked to pay for it while being insulted. Pretty savagely I’d imagine. I am surprised more people don’t get violent it is a big tribute to men that we just vote with our feet and not our fists on this bad family law system. I’m with Irlande on that.

    Also, the comment that Women should have balls, did make me laugh 🙂 Merry Xmas everyone, x.

  22. Yvie says:

    Sadly Marilyn, there are mothers who are completely motivated by money, even to the extent of falsly accusing fathers in the Family Courts to ensure that contact is either withheld completely or drastically curtailed. It is ‘the winner takes all mentally’, aided and abetted by current fiscal policy and in particular, the CSA, who would hound a decent father to the point of losing his home provided all due monies were paid.

    I have no experience of fathers who cast off their children without a backward glance.

    My own son faced the solicitor from hell in the Family Court who had no compunction in painting the blackest picture she could about my son’s capabilities as a father. She didn’t get the result she wanted however, as my son still retains his shared residence order plus in addition, half of all school holidays.

    Something has become abundantly clear to me over the last two years or so and that is the children’s love for their father cannot be erased and continues to grow ever stronger. He may be financially squeezed by their mother and the CSA but everything pales into insignificance as he will always have the love of his children. No-one can prevent that, not even the ‘solicitor from hell’ who obviously felt justified in promoting conflict instead of trying to diffuse it in the Family Courts.

  23. JamesB says:

    First sentence should have read, It is insane to chuck the man out and then expect the fatherhood and money without the man. To pick and choose which parts of life you will take and leave. That’s unrealistic.

  24. JamesB says:

    Par for the course Yvie. Your son did well, better than me not to lose his temper and walk out. I had false accusations of child abuse and neglect levelled at me and walked out and got a day every other weekend. It’s sick the way lawyers through mud without basis around.

  25. Friend says:

    “the interests of the child come first”

    but every solicitor knows that there is no substance to this. on the contrary, it is this very expression that has been used for so long to justify injustice.

  26. Friend says:

    “Savage” injustice and abuse of fathers naturally begets a “savage” response from fathers, which will be anything between yelling at the incompetent judge (not recommended) to exposing that savagery in the media (punishable as contempt of court, so also not recommended).

  27. JamesB says:

    What do you recommended Friend?

  28. JamesB says:

    I wish I took eggs with me last time I was in court. They dont show up on the metal detectors and would have felt great and less futile to throw at the judges and opposition then trying to get them to listen to anything I said.

  29. james says:

    Also, i came across an article stating that paternity frauds should not be seen as a moral crime because legislating against it would amount to sexual repression of women..
    now, thats true..women are biologically tuned to do this as this phenomenon is seen across animals..
    the question is- what about male sexual repression??? The male members across the animal kingdom have developed their own ways to tackle the issue of paternity..when a lion usurps the position of the alpha, the first thing it does is kill all the cubs in order to ensure his own paternity.. If one has a dime’s worth of intellect, he’d know i’m NOT proposing to kill the children…
    If men are walking away from someone’s else’s child, it’s PERFECTLY in his sexual right to do so…since then, he can go and try having his own child and pass on the genes…and if the state and women force men no do otherwise, they are repressing male sexuality..

  30. james says:


    thats the same as what patriarchial men said when women fought for their abortion rights… women didn’t like it since men then were trying to define motherhood..
    now, men in the exact situation, are morally burden by the rubbish you said to me in a reply…and this time it’s women who are doing the defining..
    Marriage was an institution that artificially gave beta men the chance to have their own child…Feminists didn’t like that kind of equality and marriage is now ruined… but thats ok, i’m not big on marriage myself… but if women are allowed to EXPRESS their sexuality, so should the men…
    and i’m sorry, but no man falls for that fatherhood crap that is always modelled after what feminists want..

  31. Husband receives damages after discovering children were not his - Marilyn Stowe Blog says:

    […] called ‘paternity fraud’ is an emotive topic and one I have written about before. Despite hysterical claims, there is still little hard evidence of an epidemic. Clearly it does […]

  32. LouieF says:

    I read this article after reading your most recent. You state in the comments what about the child? Why is it the man who “didn’t play” responsibility to raise and pay for a child that is not his? This is fair how? What about the man who did play and somehow gets robbed of his paternal rights? Do you think he would not want to know and be a part of his child’s life? I am sorry but this is truly rubbish. As I said in a comment to your other article. What would a woman want if she found out the hospital switched her child at birth and 20 years later found out? Would she not want to know? You bet she would and since it is a woman, it is OK. It is time for men to stand up against injustice and demand fair treatment.

  33. Alvaro Martinez says:

    I must say that I’m truly disturbed by this article, Marilyn. It’s stuff like this that makes me wonder if there is any hope for mankind. If my mother committed paternity fraud, I’d want to know (if that ever happened, I’d NEVER speak to my mother again; there’s NO excuse for lying about the paternity of the child).

    You’re entitled to your opinion, and I’m not going to judge or condemn you, but this article makes me very sick to my stomach. Irlande hit the nail right on the head. I’ve honestly tried to understand the reasoning that feminists use to rationalize and justify crimes like paternity fraud, but I simply can’t. Men, as Irlande said, are conditioned or taught to believe in things that we don’t actually believe or feel. Deep down–despite what you may feel or think, Marylin–the majority of men don’t want to be coerced into paying for a child that’s the product of a LIE.

    Mind you, I wouldn’t mind adopting a child (I understand that biology doesn’t necessarily imply fatherhood), but raising a child that’s the product of an affair is a totally different matter. There would be too much pain–because I’d be thinking of the affair every time I look at the child–and it would prevent me from having a loving relationship.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Hi Alvaro
      You and all the rest of the outraged fathers have all misunderstood my view. I do NOT condone paternity fraud. My concern is only for the innocent child. None of you appear to care less about the child, the child you apparently have all cared for until the moment you discover there is no genetic link. Thereafter you only care about yourselves, the child is cast out, and to me that is inexcusable.
      What about the child, still the same child before and after that moment of discovery?
      And if you couldn’t care less, because all that matters to you is matching genes, what kind of father were you anyhow?

      • Jason McHugh says:

        Well, if paternity tests were given at each and every birth, the child wouldn’t have to worry would they?

        If you’re so concerned about the welfare of the child, then what about genetic diseases? Shouldn’t the child know who the father is so that if something happens, it can be fixed, like bone marrow transplants?

      • Jason McHugh says:

        >What kind of father were you anyway

        One who’s life was based on a lie.

      • N_las says:

        Hi Marilyn,

        You wrote in one comment: “None of you appear to care less about the child, the child you apparently have all cared for until the moment you discover there is no genetic link. Thereafter you only care about yourselves, the child is cast out, and to me that is inexcusable. What about the child, still the same child before and after that moment of discovery? And if you couldn’t care less, because all that matters to you is matching genes, what kind of father were you anyhow?”

        How can you hold this opinion? Consider this: A man discovers that he is the father of a child years after its birth. He just didn’t know about this child because the mother keept the origins of the child as secret.
        According to your logic, the man shouldn’t care about this child. Nothing about the child changed, it is still the same child before and after that moment of discovery. Before the discovery it was just a random child of a stranger. So why should the man now start to care about it?

        Consider my second example: You are a mother and your infant is kidnapped from you. After years of investigation you are giving up all hope of finding your child ever again. After 20 years you see a young man on the subway. It is just a stranger. You have no emotional connection to him. But then you somehow discover that this stranger is actually your kindnapped child.
        According to your logic, you just wouldn’t care. It is still the same young man before and after that moment of discovery. If you didn’t care for him before the discovery, why should you suddenly care for him after it? According to your logic, you should just leave the subway and never think about that man again.

        You may now say: “But I didn’t know it was my child. If I knew this young man was my child, I would have cared for him from the start!”
        And that is exactly the same as: “But I didn’t know it was NOT my child. If I knew that this child was from a different man, I wouldn’t have cared for it in the first place.”

      • Charlie says:

        … but if the mother didn’t lie in the first place, the man might not have near as may issues about staying with his wife/mother of the child, and raising her child as his own or at least give the child a stable intact family environment!!… It’s the lie that makes the difference!!… Be straight forward and up front and the child may very well be thought of in a different light!!… Honesty is the best policy!!!

  34. Alvaro Martinez says:

    Before I start, Marylin, I should clarify that I’m not a father (yet).

    “Thereafter you only care about yourselves, the child is cast out, and to me that is inexcusable.”

    Uh huh…What about the “mother”? Here you are judging and condemning men for not wanting to raise kids that are the product of an affair, but I haven’t seen you once denounce “mothers” for committing such a despicable crime against their own children by lying about who their biological father is. This is unbelievable! You may not say it explicitly, but like most feminists, it seems you are (either consciously or unconsciously) biased towards the woman. Your argument regarding the “rights of the child” seems more like an excuse to abdicate the mother of any kind of responsibility for her actions.

    “And if you couldn’t care less, because all that matters to you is matching genes, what kind of father were you anyhow?”

    Did you read my post? I NEVER said that biology necessarily implies fatherhood. I clearly stated that adoption would be no problem for me. However, raising a kid that’s the product of an affair is a totally different matter. It would interfere with my ability to have a loving relationship with the child because I’d be thinking about the affair every time I look at him/her.

    And that’s not just me, that’s a large chunk (possibly a majority) of men. You are entitled to your opinion–even though it’s silly–but you are not going to change how MANY men think. Men do NOT want to raise children that are the product of an affair. That’s the truth. This is the problem with our politically correct culture: we are conditioned or told to believe in things that we don’t actually believe in or agree with. You can continue to live in your feminist fantasy world, and you are entitled to believe whatever you want, but you are not going to convince many men of your opinions.

    And, Marylin, if you want to use the “rights of the child” to shield the woman from being shamed, then I can do the same, too. What about “my right” to know whether or not my mother is a lying, deceitful woman who doesn’t take any responsibility for her actions? Believe me, if that were the case, I’d want to know about it.

    I hope I didn’t come across as rude, Marylin, but honestly, this is one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever read in my life.


  35. no one special says:

    Op, if a man has no right to refute a claim that a child is his, by philanthropic guise “for the greater good of the child. Then “equally” if a man has a child by another woman other then his present partner, his present partner has no legal right to refute any claims concerning motherhood placed upon her.
    I.e., if I claim you are the mother and you are not!, you have no legal right to dispute my claim, because it is for “the greater good of the child” that my lie not be questioned merely because I choose to say you are the mother.

  36. Alvaro Martinez says:

    I’d like to say a few more things.

    First, while I don’t think women who commit “paternity fraud” are necessarily horrible people, it is still a deeply unethical thing to do. I’m sorry if I sounded a little judgmental, Marilyn, but lying about the paternity of a child is very wrong. I like to see the best in people, but I could never be friends with a woman who deliberately lied to her husband about the paternity of the child. Not out of spite, mind you; but because I believe in honesty and personal responsibility, and because I’m a deeply religious person who takes marriage very seriously. As a man of faith (who doesn’t enjoy passing judgments) I do personally believe that “you are who you’re friends with.”

    Next, your arguments about the needs of the child are not totally unfounded. But I do think we ought to be consistent. If a mother or father commits any other crime, whether or not they have children is going to be irrelevant. We aren’t going to not hand down a sentence just because they have kids. I don’t want to see the kids suffer, but if we decide to not punish the mother–because we want to protect the kids–then we’ll inevitably have to do the same for any other felony that a parent commits.

    Now some people might argue that this argument wouldn’t be applicable simply because paternity fraud isn’t illegal. Well that’s true. But just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t mean it’s not a crime or that it’s not unethical. Paternity fraud should be a crime, and it should be treated as such. My opinion is that if a husband wants to lay charges, he should be able to (I’m not sure I would, but for other men who would, they should have the option).

    Lastly, I want to reply to your post: “Does it really matter if a loving father and his child never find out? What harm is being done to the man, child or woman concerned – that is until they find out and the predictable fallout occurs?”

    You might mean well when you wrote this, but I think this is sending a very bad message. I don’t want to resort to “slippery slopes,” Marilyn, but this kind of thinking is what inevitably could lead many women to think that lying about the child’s paternity is OK. This kind of reasoning is just what many women might do to brush off any guilt they may feel for not own up to their actions. We need to be very clear that infidelity–which results in a pregnancy–and not taking responsibility are bad things to do.

  37. doc says:

    Here are some claimed data that one US newspapers announced last month, based on a reliable sampling – there were over 300,000 legal paternity tests done in the year 2011, about half done on mothers’ demand and half requested by fathers who disputed paternity. There were another 300,000 ILLEGAL paternity tests done (tests done in secrecy via widely present paternity kits AND online clinics that guarantee anonymity of their clients). You can easily bet that many of those illegal tests preceded legal court battles, which just speaks about unfairness of paternity laws and jail threats that are enforced and result with some fathers being arrested. But now they can do it anonymously and keep it for themselves. About 31% of tests have proven that the alleged fathers were NOT biological fathers. This is a constant percentage which fluctuates from 26-34% of over two decades of paternity testing. add there all the children sent who, for various reasons (overwhelmingly to get state support, being sent to orphanage, sperm donors, mothers who don’t know who the father is) will not even have their father enlisted. There were about 3,65 million children born in the US for the year 2011.

    Given the amount of money spent on court expenses and widespread paternity testing, plus all other cases that will never see the daylight, there is really no reason why “woman organizations” demand all the laws that shame or legally disable fathers (and children) from knowing the truth before it is too late. People have right to know, not just fathers, but children as well.
    This gives more than enough reasons to have mandatory paternity testing, especially for married couples, reason to stop with the “putative fatherhood”, while establishing a federal database which help a lot to resolve any disputed paternity or to track down the runaway or unknowing fathers and resolve most problems that cuckolded fathers or single mothers are having, including state that pays in cases of absent father. In the very end, children should know who their biological parents are.

    You need to acknowledge the importance of biological children for vast majority of people. I’ve recently saw the article of a woman who had cancer and refused to get cancer treatment which would prolong her life for more than 5 years, instead she insisted doctors to spare her fetus and carried on with pregnancy, she delivered her only child on this world and all comments were focused on praising her, including her husband. She died shortly after. That is how important the biological offspring is. Any commentator, including myself, can only praise the mother’s decision and acknowledge that 99,9% of us would choose the same. This is universal behavior. I don’t say anything against adoption, I praise people who do it, but that is NOT the same like being victim of paternity fraud. Women who think so should answer it for themselves if they would allow that to happen or they would choose another hospital, no affair involved at all, so it’s even easier for them to accept it, right?

    I am a man who has ALMOST been a victim of paternity fraud. My wife slept with another man while we were married. We were married for three years when the child was born and I was FORCED BY LAW to stay married during her first year of childbirth because law in my state demanded it in case of a newborn child and let’s just say that I eagerly disputed the child’s paternity and wanted to get out.
    Anyone who asks me why I was suspicious of my own child, let’s just say that I’ve seen everything in my life and wanted to be sure in my own offspring. There were no visible signs for me that I’m a victim of a fraud and only my decision to do the testing has saved me further nightmare.

    Marilyn Stowe, I applaud you on your skills though, you have proven to be really persuasive to at least gain sympathies by some in this case, but I’d love to tell you how my lawyer constructed an answer that might pong the ball back to you. You lawyers are really great when it comes to creativity and oral skills on court… my lawyer fascinated me so much and I got another insight of how important is to have a good lawyer.

    I will deliberately avoid child’s gender and will alter (real) names that my lawyer used.
    After dragging the court process for as long as two years and then getting test done to prove that I was right, my ex wife’s lawyer demanded that, due to time spent with me being listed as child’s father, it will be in child’s best interest to keep me paying the child support and keep me legally obliged towards the child!
    My lawyer answered it with such ease that I’d never even think of in my whole rage listening to her lawyer… he was really creative:
    Imagine if my client John was a bank client and that Mrs. Marry, while working in his bank, robbed tens of thousands of dollars to support her child. Had she been caught doing that, she’d be jailed and forced to pay the money back!
    I was so thrilled with his answer that I completely lost it, I laughed so hysterically in court that the judge had to warn me, I apologized several times because I was shaking so much and laughing at the same point… I was freed from paying child support and thanks to new laws I might be able to get (some) of the money I paid back to my pocket.

    Mrs Stowe, verdicts that you cited are living proof that men are deliberately discriminated by both legislation and its practice, fathers are considered UNWORTHY of having the basic human rights, they are considered to be good only to serve the with their work society and their feelings are not important because they are disposable, expendable, their lives are cheap.
    You are inherently suggesting that something as grave as cuckolding is supposed to be rewarded and that the victim should be further punished for one of gravest things one can do. All this should be done in an era when it can easily be solved. Just imagine if you had your only child and after 20 years of marriage you find out that you are a victim of fraud by your husband and that you have no biological children of your own… this can be done today with surrogate mother being your husband’s lover and the child being delivered to you after he impregnates her during their affair, just imagine your reaction and then think of the reasons why your should continue being the victim of not just the economical fraud but such MENTAL fraud… it can easily break even the strongest, as I know it from my sister who works in fertility clinic, there were so many desperate women who would gladly have their limbs sawed away if they could only have their biological child in their 40s, they even attempt to bribe doctors to accept their own eggs for IVF treatment!

  38. nicolas nasr says:

    I discovered this blog after searching because I intuitively feel that default paternity testing is where a progressive society’s future lies. Darigan Liber has clearly outlined the simple solution to our technological coming of age. The pill has freed women (thankfully!) and despite some growing pains, society has (and still is) adapted. Now men must find their freedom: the freedom to govern their fates, be it as polygamous bachelors, monogamous fathers, or something in between. Each path has its respective responsibilities, but now thanks to DNA testing these responsibilities can and must be allocated with justice.
    I’ve read all entries, and I’m fascinated by the depth and range of responses. I understand the innate outrage men (fathers and non-fathers alike) feel when relating to this issue because we are conditioned, subtly, since being little boys, to be providers, much as women are conditioned virtually from birth to be nurturers.
    Infidelity is not disappearing anytime soon. Within the confines of marriage, I have cheated and I have been cheated on, so I know the deep pain caused by both sides well. It is not easy to separate oneself from the destructive need for retribution, but this issue isn’t about retribution, even though some contributions are steeped in that tone.
    This is about elevating humanity’s condition to a fair and just outcome. Financial responsibility must be bestowed on biological fathers, one way or another. It’s about the fundamental, innate desire to choose to care for your progeny.
    An adoptive parent has presumably considered, undoubtedly with many days of intense and profound reflection, introspection and financial calculation, the issues of raising a non-biological child.
    No doubt we all make bad judgements, we are all subject to human frailties. But wounds not quickly tended to will always fester with time, dragging along an increasing circle of victims, most of them innocent. Siblings are frequently drawn into the mess.
    Marilyn, you wrote “And if you couldn’t care less, because all that matters to you is matching genes, what kind of father were you anyhow?”
    I sincereIy doubt this properly reflects the reality of a great majority of cuckolded fathers. When my son was a year old my wife and I separated, and she took up with another man. She claimed and obtained sole custody, which I contested and succeeded in reversing, at a considerable cost. My lawyer recommended a paternity test, which I refused (I naively told him that I wouldn’t do that to her). I fell apart and begged her to come back to me, for our son’s sake as well as mine, which she did when her adulterous relationship soured.
    Ten months later I discovered she was involved with yet another man and finally understood I couldn’t keep our family together by myself no matter how hard I tried. The point is this: the weeks of waiting for paternity results were a source of great stress- I deeply loved my two-year-old and couldn’t bear not to have him in my life, but accepting him if he wasn’t mine meant sharing resources with my three biological children from my first marriage. Now which child’s interest comes first?
    Imagine the years of collective pain and anguish, and the financial costs of perpetual litigation being eliminated with a simple, mandatory paternity test at birth? Knowledge brings healing, even if it is sometimes initially very painful. The sooner, the better. It’s not just the father’s right to know, it’s the right thing to do for all involved.

  39. Wow says:

    Would you condone a man saving half his paychecks to keep a mistress on the side without telling his wife and children? I mean, what does it matter to them, right? As long as he can put food on their table and pay off their bills like a good slave then everything’s good, right?

  40. Luke says:

    “My concern is only for the innocent child. None of you appear to care less about the child, the child you apparently have all cared for until the moment you discover there is no genetic link. Thereafter you only care about yourselves, the child is cast out, and to me that is inexcusable.”

    this is a 22 month old thread but a very important one I think. I understand your concern for the child here although in no way in my opinion (and it seems just about everyone else who has commented!) does this justify keeping the poor male sap in the dark about the fact that he has been duped by the mother.

    In order to alleviate your concern about the relationship with the child being ended would you agree with me that compulsory DNA testing of the child should be done at birth ?
    This would solve the problem at a stroke and everybody would be clear about where they stood.

    This seems by far the best solution doesn’t it ?

  41. Laura says:

    I don’t think that compulsory test will be the best and quick fix solution but it will help if courts will start treating this as a fraud then some gold diggers will stop using kids as a bank accounts.We are facing this dilemma and believe me my partner will be destroyed if he finds out that he is not the father of her 10yrs old kid so for many people is not jus about the money but is about honesty and truth it will no matter the outcome she will be her child doesn’t matter what but we would like some justice.I am sure any child will be very impress to find out at any age that the person who call dad all his life is not the real dad and was all staged by her loving mother….l understand is not a simple matter….but let’s face it for many years women have been getting favorable outcome in divorce and family courts for many years (majority of us we have a job to help to support our families,we have an education just like many men)we have been shouting for equality but not in this matter?is time to be fair and equal and l know each case is different and we can’t treat all cases the same ….

  42. Luke says:

    Laura, in 90% of cases the mother gets custody, so they will not punish the mother because that will hurt the child. This means the mother is effectively beyond the law on this subject.

    The argument put forward is that it will hurt the child (and the father, but of course but he doesn’t matter) who has bonded with the father if we let the father do a DNA test later on, so if we buy that as a prevailing argument it seems to me there is no other option to having DNA tests at birth.

    Personally I don’t buy the aforementioned argument because as DNA becomes a more used tool in future the truth will probably come out later and it will be even worse for all parties – but I still think testing at birth informs all parties and is a no-brainer.

    Many women, particularly strong feminists, appear to be irrational and unreasonable on this subject. DNA testing is here – the genie cannot be stuffed back in the bottle – even by feminists.

  43. John says:

    Should a man be forced into staying in a relationship founded on lies? When a woman deceives a man about the paternity of her child, I’m not willing to accept a priori that the child, the mother and the father are all better off if Pandora’s box is left sealed. Men have rights too, along with women and children; in fact, all humans have rights, among them the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For the alleged father, the key to the box may unlock the ability regaining his life and a chance at happiness, liberated from responsibility for the actions of another person, and free from a web of relationships founded on lies. At the very least, it affords him the opportunity to make an informed choice and perhaps reframe the basis of the relationship.

  44. John Dowe says:

    Blah, blah, blah…”Innocent child”…black blah blah…”Men shouldn’t worry about if their wife had unprotected sex outside of their marriage and produced a child”…blah, blah, blah, “Ignore the fact that the woman should be held accountable for the entire situation in the first place.”

  45. Skeeter says:

    “What I find interesting about all those men who have commented so savagely only from their own perspective, is this:- what about their own relationship with the child? How are they able to cast off this innocent child, who they have known from birth, have nurtured raised bonded and parented: without a backwards glance caring only about money and themselves?
    What kind of people are they? what type of parent are they really?”

    I’ve seen this argument, or some variation of it, many times before, and it befuddles me that anyone would even ask such a fatuous question–silly because it can be countered simply with one question: If the man can willingly cast aside a child that he nurtured and raised for years, then wouldn’t he make a bad parent anyway? Does it make him a better parent because he raised it under the pretense that it WAS his child but didn’t know otherwise? I’d think that you would want him to know at some point to see whether or not he makes the decision to raise it regardless.
    When women ask questions like this, it makes it seem as though what they are really trying to protect is the woman’s right/ability to pin her baby on the man who she determines would provide more financial stability for her and her child. ie, the guy that makes the most money and would provide a bigger child support check if things were to go wrong.

    So to answer your question, a guy who is willing to cast aside his non-biological child to preserve his income may be a “crappy” person, but he would be just as bad of a person if he raised that child in ignorance. He just would have continued to put on the front of a “good” dad and/or continue to financially support it.

  46. Dave Smith says:

    Of corse the man has a right to know, if fraud had been committed and a sick fraud at that it is still a crime and the mother should pay for it regardless. It’s not just the fraud that comes in to play here it’s theft as well and not petty theft either you have theft of life itself and the opportunity to create life of your own men cannot simply be considered foster parents when it suits a woman or her child to protect the mothers cowardice in the first place if you expect equal rights then you must give equal rights.

  47. Andrew says:

    Apart from anything else a man whose marriage or relationship has ended and who pays out for a child who is not his may be unable to afford to start his own family while he is still young enough.

    Remember the chap who insisted on the embryos being destroyed after the relationship ended? He got a bad press, but he probably wanted to remain financially able to start a family of which he would be part. And that was his own genetic material – the case is much stronger when it is not.

  48. vob re says:

    The majority of men deceive women on a regular basis!
    ‘ Just desserts’ springs to mind. Marilyn is right the only thing that matters is the child.

  49. Andrew says:

    No vob, that Mr A deceives Ms B and Mr C deceives Ms D does not make it all right for Ms E to deceive Mr F. Men are not a single body responsible for each others’ actions; neither are women.

  50. Anonymous says:

    The only thing that matters is the child. Yes, of course. That sounds wonderful. Sadly, it is just this principal that has become so empty since the 80s, when we first started to use it. Whenever I hear someone mention it, I just become suspicious, because it usually means that they are just adept at manipulating language.

    Andrew says it well. None of us should be made responsible for the actions of others in our group. That ways lies discrimination and a hatred that is unproductive.

    If I were a child whose mom was committing fraud of this kind, I’d probably grow up to be a criminal too. I thought the aim was to reduce crime rather than encourage it.

  51. vob re says:

    Andrew , I agree with you entirely, however , you cannot escape the fact that there will be people out there who have no conscience and do think that way,
    There are many roads to deception; an adopted child who only finds out latterly the their is no genetic link.

  52. Aravind says:

    So what punishment does the author suggest for the criminal women so that it acts as a strong deterrent for future criminals who did such a big injustice to the child (and also the father)?

  53. Aravind says:

    Related to “best interest of child”… I am sure many children would be heartbroken to see their mother having multiple partners or such behavior. Since “best interest of the child” is paramount, women should not be able to do that…..right? or “best interest of the child” is a matter of convenience?

  54. David says:

    Marilyn S,

    I don’t usually comment on articles, and I apologize if you feel attacked by many of these messages, but I have to be honest, I share their disgust in a lot of your logic. You claim that “the interests of the child come first.” That is all fine and dandy, but lets put this theory through a quick test. Lets assume a father goes out and robs a liquor store, he steals $500. Should the govt not put him in jail because his child, a wholly innocent person would be deprived of his attention and ability to provide for the child? Or lets not even look at a violent crime, he commits tax fraud… should he not be held accountable because it will effect his child’s life? These women have committed fraud often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, plus time, plus emotion, at the consequence of imprisonment if the man doesnt adhere. You also look as if the man is not the victim as well… or the greater societal effects of this notion. If a man can be thrown under the bus at any time, based on a woman’s lie, then how will that effect society and marriages in general? Furthermore, if children being wholly innocent is all that matters, and certain children are in disadvantaged positions, why dont we just go ahead and put a tax on all men to cover this?

  55. Steve says:

    Here is a quick question for you… divorce has proven to be horrible on children… should a woman not be allowed to divorce because it would effect her children?

  56. an unapologetic man says:

    Women do not understand the concept of justice. All they have is the concept of compassion. And this compassion is never for the man, but is reserved first for the child and then for other women.

    This is why your hamstering rationalization is no surprise to me.

  57. Tom T says:

    So the debate rages and the comments keep coming in. I recently discovered I am not my son’s biological father, after 16 years rearing him, I love him and I want to support him financially and in every other way. He is suffering from this fraud as I am but I love him as his father. Yet I still very much resent his mother for doing this to me no matter how confused or helpless she felt at the time she had 16 years of fraud going on – not all helpless and confused. So I would be happy to support my son and pay no spousal maintenance and I get to keep the assets. I think that covers all your concerns and gives me the retribution I would like. Oh and if she went to jail for a couple of years I wouldn’t have a problem with that either.
    I fully agree with whoever said paternity testing should be routine and automatic at birth, fair is fair, if a woman knows for sure so should the man.

  58. vob re says:

    I have just read Marilyn response to James Dec 2nd 2012.
    ‘ its all about me’ she could not be more right.

  59. vob re says:

    I have just read Marilyn’s response to James Dec 2nd 2012.
    ‘ its all about me’ she could not be more right.

  60. Tom T says:

    I’d also be happy for “her share of the assets” and spousal maintenance to go to charity. It’s not that I want it, rather it’s that I don’t want her to have it. She should be punished for this fraud.

  61. Luke says:

    I still haven’t heard a single decent argument against compulsory DNA testing at birth (unless the presumed father refuses to consent to it and doesn’t want to know) – I understand that women are fearful of the consequences – but that is not a good reason !

  62. Andy says:

    My ex left me after 19 years of marriage with two children aged 12 & 5, the marriage had died several years before so it came as no surprise, what did come as a revelation was the amount of people who knew she was a cheat but never saw fit to tell me.
    My daughter who is now 20 takes after my side of the family, my son who I love without reserve bears no resemblance to myself or ex wife and as he grows resembles the type of man my ex used to find most attractive.
    My ex has never shown any interest in having the children except when she needed money i.e. child support and government help. as recently as last December she began manipulating my son to encourage him to live with her so I let it be known among friends that should he go to his mothers I would have a DNA test, word has obviously got back to her as she now pays me maintenance and I have never had such a “normal” relationship with the ex with no manipulation of the kids.
    The worst part of this deception is that my son is disabled, this does not change how I view him or how I love him, it just sickens me that this woman could be so cold and calculating.
    I firmly believe she will tell me once my son reaches 18 years that I am not his father, and she will gloat at my apparent ignorance fully knowing there will be no redress.
    To give a idea of our social standing my ex was a civil servant and as for myself I have worked nights for the Crown for the last twenty years so I could be around for me kids during the day, holidays etc.
    Our lives now are fine, I have since remarried, and my new wife loves and dotes on our son, my daughter has moved out and has set up her own home .

  63. Jay says:

    Marilyn, supposing that a woman has a very comfortable home and family environment — what would your stance be on a woman’s decision to give up a child that she latently discovered to be a product of her rape? Nevermind the improbability of such a situation occurring — suppose she was raped in the same period that she was trying to conceive with her husband and had a DNA test prior to birth which yielded a false result, later corrected. Would she be a terrible mother if she gave up the child for adoption?

    If yes, why? Is there an age at which the situation changes?

    If no, why does the child’s interest take precedence in cases of paternity fraud?

    The above analogy maps better than the pro-life ‘but the child is innocent’ argument against terminating pregnancies resulting from rape, but that’s the first argument I thought of as I read your post. Particularly the following passage:

    “In any event, for all those tens of thousands of fathers who we are led to believe may be fretting about the paternity of their children, consider this: does it really matter whether a child is the biological offspring of his or her father? Does it really matter if a loving father and his child never find out? What harm is being done to the man, child or woman concerned – that is until they find out and the predictable fallout occurs?”

    I’m not sure you realize how cold you’re being, or that you realize you’re blaming the victim, but you are.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Jay
      I’m not blaming anyone. Irrespective of what happened in the past, there is a child and the welfare of that child should come first in English law. I’m not saying a father doesn’t have a right to know or that a child doesn’t have a right to know who its’ natural father is. However there is a right time and place and it must be done in accordance with the paramount principle of the welfare of the child coming first and foremost.

      • Luke says:

        If this was about a woman’s “right to know” we wouldn’t even be having this discussion – has there EVER been a case in this country where a woman has doubts that she was given the correct child to take home from the hospital (at any time afterwards) and the court has denied her the right to find out ?

        I strongly suspect not.

      • Jay says:

        Marilyn, you’re right to say that you aren’t blaming anyone, but you are suggesting that the victim be punished for the actions of his victimizer. You also seem to be dismissing or just not seeing the emotional aspects of the scenario as pertains to the victim. Not trying to react aggressively to your criticism, just realizing I wrote that last sentence incorrectly.

        Did you read the rest of my post? The questions were asked sincerely. I think it’s an appropriate analogy — the physical violation wouldn’t be there of course, but the psychic (worse in both cases I think) certainly would be. And in the case of paternity fraud I think the emotional toll could be argued worse given who was doing the damage and for how long.

  64. Man says:

    The child must come first alright but not to the duped father, if that’s not HIS child, then that’s NOT HIS business. What is difficult to understand about this exactly? This is one of the reasons why women should never EVER be allowed to think for men. Women generally don’t care how men feel, you just expect a man to understand, get over it and then life can go on. You even feel qualified to ask what kind of a “father” would he be? This article is highly offensive to men but your mind is not wired to see it because you live in a society that teaches you men’s feelings don’t matter unless they benefit a woman. Using a child doesn’t cut it, it’s not just about the child and ends there, believe it or not it’s about him too. If it’s not his child, then it must be entirely up to him what he decides, entirely UP TO HIM. He must not be shamed or be made to look like a bad person even if he chooses to walk out, because HE IS NOT a bad person. He is a victim freeing himself from a lie.

  65. Dave Kuske says:


    My story has a bit different take on the paternity issue and I am truly needing advice and support. I am the biological father of a child conceived during an affair. The mother of my child committed paternity fraud, having her husband sign the birth certificate even though she had sex with two men. She had keep this pregnancy , as well as her relationship with me, a secret from her family. After my daughter was born, she continued relationships with both her husband and me; he thinking the child was his and not knowing about me; me, falling in love with my daughter and caring for her, thinking the mother was in the process of divorce. Two years after the birth of my daughter, the husband discovered the affair and took a paternity test. The child was not his. Husband and wife separated. Husband was in love with the child also and continued to see her. For the next 3 years I spent as many hours as I could with my daughter. I love her dearly. She is the moon and the stars of my life. I have 1500 photos and videos of us. I, myself, am product of an affair and grew up with out the love and support of a dad and an outsider in a family where my siblings had grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts, while I was the outcast. I didn’t find out who my dad was until I was an adult and he had already died. I vowed that my little girl would never know that pain. That I would give her love and support always.
    But, I became the one cuckold. The women I thought would be my wife was, unbeknownst to me, seeing her husband again. Karma’s a bitch. After 5 years in this relationship she took my daughter and returned to her husband. I filed for visitation rights. For a year, through our lawyers, we worked on an agreement and I had my daughter on weekends. I willing agreed to child support. In fact I insisted. This is my daughter! Of course I want to support her financially. Then, abruptly, my ex fired her lawyer, got a new one, revoked my visitation times and using the Presumed Father law, was able to establish her husband as the legal father of my daughter. I was not considered even a psychological parent, even though the court admitted I had a deep bond with my little girl. I have not seen my little for over a year. She just turned seven. My heart is broken and I don’t know how to go on. How can a biological father, deeply involved with his child, lose the right to
    love and raise her? I have done no wrong. No abuse. No violence. No harm, yet I am as if I don’t exist. This child called me daddy. In fact, she called two men daddy. The child had the wisdom and the heart that was not available in the adults. To try to appeal this will cost thousands of dollars. I am a blue color worker living paycheck to paycheck. My personal experience has proven to me the need for paternity testing at birth. All I am saying is, give men a chance. Not all of us want an out. Some of us want an in.

    • Marilyn Stowe says:

      Dear Dave
      Thanks very much indeed for writing. I am very sorry that you are in this position.

  66. Paternity Fraud – Part 1 | mra-uk says:

    […] matter if a man is conned into believing another man’s child is his, she says so here. Well, that’s fine and dandy for her. As a woman, it is not a problem she will ever […]

  67. RN says:

    Hi all,
    Ive just been reading the comments on this site with great interest.
    Back in 2007 I was falsely named as the biological father to twins, the mother and I both knew who the biological father was as did our respective families yet she she made a false claim to the csa after her affair.
    She named me as the biological father and refused to allow the biological father to have anything to do with the children. I have fought the csa ever since.
    In 2009 I involved my MP in the case, I told him that my ex partner had gained money by deception and committed paternity fraud, He put pressure on the csa and in turn the csa contacted my ex partner and she confessed after a two year fight to prove my innocence.
    I could not afford a dna test as the the csa were taking over 50% of my wage to support children that were not my own, I entered a new relationship with 3 children and the csa failed to update my records.
    After my ex partners confession the csa stopped the case but refused to refund me the money they had demanded with threats of prison, never mind that I was under the mental health team and lost everything, my job, house and car and almost my mind. I had severe depression and had made four attempts on my own life and yet the csa failed to do anything to help me despite having evidence of what I had been saying all alone.
    I have only just lived through this nightmare of paternity fraud and wonder why people get away with it?
    Fraud is fraud no matter how you wrap it up, break the law and face the consequences of your actions, no man should ever go through what I have.

    • Pippo says:

      You see, you’re looking at it the wrong way. Your misadventure served to empower the fraudster and cheater that put you this and that’s all that matters. Also, men don’t have feelings or something like that.

  68. Pippo says:

    Why not go one step further and let pregnant women pick the father from random men on the street? Biological paternity doesn’t matter anyway, right?

  69. Andrew says:

    Marilyn: a lot of children live at a much lower standard than they otherwise would because their father is paying maintenance for their older half-sibling(s). As he should be if he is their father.

    But if it is discovered that that relationship is suppositious and father can stop paying that’s in their best interest, isn’t it? Why do they matter less than the older child?

    In that case he is entitled to stop paying at once and to recover all he has been deceived into paying. If she’s not good for the money, well, that’s too bad for him, although if he has handed over his home (or if she has other property) he should be able to proceed by charging order and sale. But if the State (through CSA, CMEC, etc.) has been party to the deception it should pay – and recover the money if it can from the mother.

    Tell me that’s harsh if you like but if it is wrong please tell me why?

  70. Mark says:

    I am a 53 year old male. During January of this year 2015 I was approached by a woman who says that I am the biological father of her 28 year daughter. She has two other children with the man she was married to and has now divorced. This was a great shock to me. I remember the lady in question.

    I said that I’m very willing to meet “my daughter” but I would like a DNA test as I think this is very important for everyone. Then “my daughter” can decide how she wants to proceed if I prove to be the biological father. I believe this is a reasonable position.

    According to her mother “my daughter” is stable, educated and in a career, is engaged to a lovely man and due to be married next year.

    The issue for me is that the lady in question has asked me to wait for her to pluck up the courage to tell her daughter. I have now waited since January of this year and despite several requests from me she is still undecided as to when she will tell her daughter!

    I am at a loss about how to proceed.
    1. Do I wait for her mother to tell her and then act (this is my preferred option) but how long should I wait. I’ve waited for 28 years is that not long enough.
    2. Should I approach my daughter without her Mother’s consent?
    3. Are there any legal implications for me? Which law covers this area,if any?

  71. Andrew says:

    I will confine myself to question 3, and to the strict legalities. I assume you are domiciled, that is have your permanent home, in England or Wales.

    You cannot be ordered to pay retrospective maintenance for this lady even if DNA determines that she is your daughter.

    Nor can you be ordered to give her any money or treat her as your daughter in any way.

    But after your death she could make a claim under the Family Provision Act for part of your estate. Whether she would succeed depends on all sorts of considerations and facts which you don’t give us including what other family you have, what your will says, and what your means are.

    If DNA had determined that she was not your daughter that of course could not happen.

    If there has been no testing she would have to establish that she was your daughter, and if there had been a chance to test DNA during your lifetime and she had not taken it that would cast doubt on her claim. Of course if her mother had not cooperated that would be another matter.

    You will need to ask what was the relationship between you and her mother when she was conceived. If she and her husband were married at the time and living together there is still a presumption that she is what we used to call legitimate – in fact we still did in 1986 when I take it this young lady was born. If not, then how were things? Was it a brief fling, a one-night stand, or what was it? How likely was it that she had intercourse with another man during the month when the young lady was conceived? You will see that if there was some sort of serious relationship the mother might be offended at your doubts.

    All things considered I would ask the mother what her intentions are and give her a time-frame. If she does not react then – and I know this sounds harsh – forget it, or at least take no further action. You might want to make a statutory declaration, to be kept with your will, setting out the history of your attempts to establish the facts, which could be used in defence of any claim. Of course if you were yourself married or in a serous relationship at the time (and are still with the same person) that could cause upset when you die. If you were then single and later married and had children; well, only you can judge how your wife and children would react to learning about this.

    All the best; you are in a difficult position.

    • Mark says:

      Hello Andrew,

      Thank you for your reply. I’m just wondering if you are a solicitor?

      I would also like to answer some questions that you raised in your reply. So her goes…..

      I can confirm I am domiciled in England and my permanent address is in England. I was born in the UK. I am a bachelor, I don’t have any children and I am currently single. So this approach from the mother could be a blessing in disguise for me. I sincerely hope that the young woman is my daughter as I would welcome the opportunity to form a relationship with her, if that’s what she wants.

      I’m pleased to read that I cannot be ordered to pay retrospective maintenance payments for “my daughter” if DNA tests prove that to be the case. I am also pleased that I can choose how I “father” this young woman, if that’s what she also wants from me, as I am aware that she may not and she may tell me to go away…………it will be a “two way street”.

      If she were proved to be “my daughter”, over time, and as I do not have direct heirs I would seriously consider, voluntarily, leaving my estate to “my daughter” in any case. So this is not so much of an issue for me, unless I’ve missed something?

      The relationship between myself and my “daughter’s mother” happened prior to her marriage. We were lovers. It was a passionate brief affair that quickly fizzled out. I subsequently did not find out that I may have “fathered” my daughter at time until my “alleged daughter’s mother” approached me when “my daughter” was aged 4 years! By that time the mother was married and did not want to form a relationship with me! So since that time it has never been spoken about, until the mother approached in January 2015. It is possible that the mother had intercourse with someone, I can’t state with any certainty that she did not have intercourse with anyone else…hence my wish for a DNA test after the Mother has told “my daughter”.

      I like the idea of giving the mother a deadline. I’m not so sure I want to then “forget it”, but I am aware that I did not give you the full facts so this advice may not apply after you’ve read my reply. Please could you re-consider your advice?

      I believe it is everyone’s human right to know who their biological parents are! She is 28, sound of mind so no real reasons not to tell her. So I am minded to tell “my daughter” in any case….but I would much rather her Mother do this first and for me to support he Mother in that process…rather than me approach “my daughter” without the Mother’s consent.

      There is also genetic historical medical information that I’d like to tell “my daughter” about as this could affect any children she may have! (This is not serious medical issues, but ones that she would benefit through knowing about).

      I wonder, now that I have given a fuller reply…does this change your advice?

      • Andrew says:

        If you are happy for anything you leave to pass to this lady if she is your daughter then the legal difficulties fall away. Go for it. Ask the mother to approach her quickly and if she does not, do it yourself.

        I am indeed a solicitor. I have confined myself to the legal side – I do not regard myself as better qualified to say anything about the emotional and personal side of this difficult matter. But I see difficulties if for example she has been brought up to believe that the man her mother subsequently married is her bio father. That man is the father of her siblings, even if they are in fact half-siblings, and may have been an excellent and living father figure to her. There’s more to fatherhood than an act of intercourse.

        If she does not respond, or the mother blocks it, or she turns out not to be your daughter, you might still want to do the statutory declaration to be kept with your will to set out the facts. You will presumably be leaving whatever you have to somebody and that somebody should not be troubled by any claim from anyone who is not your daughter.

        • Mark says:

          Hi Andrew,

          Thank you very much for insightful replies. You have helped to crystallise my thinking on this matter for which I grateful to you.

          Just to finalise this exchange of emails and to perhaps close the matter; the mother has made me aware that “my daughter’s” relationship with her father is currently acrimonious and they have not spoken to each other for nearly a year. The mother advises me that there is no real “attachment” between them and “my daughter” has always felt as though “she does not belong and there is something missing”, hence the Mother’s decision to contact me.

          The man is the father of “my daughter’s two siblings” to which he does have a good “attachment”. “My daughter” has been bought up to believe that the man is also her biological father as well. Despite these facts I believe that “my Daughter” still has a right to know who her biological father is and then she can decide how to proceed. This may well cause her psychological distress and there is a dilemma here for me. However, given I have been told she is well educated, in a long and stable relationship, has a stable job, and has no psychological difficulties then I minded to go ahead with promoting contact. I understand this is my decision that will provide “my daughter” with choices, which I think is better than having no choices and to continue living a lie, in ded, if the DNA test proves that to be the case!

          If “my daughter” had a loving relationship with her father then I think I would view this whole matter differently and perhaps let “let sleeping dogs lay”, but as I’m being told my daughter has this “something is missing feeling and as though she does not belong” then I am minded to promote contact as in the longer term she may benefit from having me in her life!

          Thank you so much for advising me on the legal side of this matter. I appreciate your time and your energy.

          Yours appreciatively,


          • Marilyn Stowe says:

            Dear Mark
            I’m sorry to give a more dispiriting view but you should think of the downside. If a complete stranger contacted me out of the blue saying he was my father, I would run screaming for the hills but most probably to the nearest police station complaining about a lunatic contacting me out of the blue and demanding protection.
            What your ex lover has done is set a wild hare running and how do you know it’s true? No one does, from what you say and the chances are just as possible it isn’t true as it is. You have no idea have you?
            At the very least out of respect for the young woman involved you need her mother, not you, to approach her daughter to “tell her the truth” but I ask myself why you, why now? Is the young woman really not on good terms with her father? How do you truly know that? All children can be out of friends with a parent but deep down the affection is still there.
            Why involve you after all these years when previously your ex didn’t want to know, if it first of all isn’t going to irreparably damage all of you, as it seems to have done to you, and filling you all with anguish:- and that it seems to me is potentially just the start.
            What do you expect the young woman to do? Roses around the door for a complete stranger? Welcome you with open arms as you turn her world upside down? She might but equally I think she is as likely to freak as is her father and who knows what will happen thereafter? What will he do? How will he react? What if you make this disclosure and the mother doesn’t back you up?
            It’s all horrifying and shocking and before I did anything further I would take professional advice from an expert counsellor who can explore the whole thing with you, and what you truly stand to gain and more to the point the profound emotional cost to you if it goes wrong, which it could well do.
            This is one of those situations where for your own good, I would strongly suggest the mother needs to act, tell her daughter, not you, for your own protection and the welfare of her daughter.
            Regards and very best wishes,

          • Mark says:

            Dear Marilyn,

            Thank you for your reply and for asking probing, searching questions that have enabled me to explore my own thinking on this subject. I am more of an optimist, than a pessimist and I also consider myself to be very resilient, robust and very well protected and emotionally balanced.

            I don’t know if what the woman said is true or not! It would be a very odd thing to do if she has made up the whole story! On the balance of probability in my mind I’ve concluded it is possible that I am her biological father, as I did have sexual intercourse with her around that time, the mother has also given me photographs of the young woman and she resembles me in hair colour, eye colour and general appearance. So there is some evidence for me to consider.

            I agree that I should let the mother tell her daughter and I’ve stated the same to the mother on 24th January……the mother still is plucking up the courage to tell her daughter! I have given her until 7th June to do so! This is a further two months. I believe this is enough time for her now.

            I have asked the Mother the same questions, why me, why now! How can I believe you? The mother has replied by telling me she is sick of living a lie, the young woman has a “sense of not belonging, and of something missing”. The Mother has told me she is 99% sure I am the biological father. The mother added that if anything happened to her [the mother] then the young woman would have no-one in her life as a parental figure to whom she could turn. I am aware that the ex-husband has always had his suspicions that the young woman is not his biological daughter. The mother told me that she was scared of her ex-husband (I know he was violent towards the mother at times early in the relationship) and that’s why she never progressed seeing me until now…four years after a very acrimonious divorce from him! The Mother also tells me she now feels as though she now has confidence, her free will has returned and she is no longer under his control or living in his shadow. You will know these descriptions are those of a woman whom has suffered both emotional and physical abuse! So I think I do believe her, but I do retain a very healthy reserve of scepticism!

            My expectations of the young woman are zero. I don’t have any expectations, none. I simply believe she should be told who her biological father is, subject to a DNA test if she agrees. I have researched a DNA Test and I understand that the three of us will have to consent in any case. If she does not want a DNA test I can’t force her and then I will follow Andrew’s advice and put a statutory declaration with my will. I accept that she may well say no. If we all agree to a DNA Test and I am the biological father I would say that the the rest no one can predict, even with an experienced counselor guiding me, which, by the way I suggested the Mother sees before talking this further but she refuses. I even offered to go with her, or to source some guidance for her..she refused, stating she wants to do it “her way”.

            Equally, I don’t know how the father will react. But as it stands I am led to believe that he is showing no affection or interest in her in any case (this may not be true)……I believe he suspects that she is not his daughter in any case! So he maybe unconsciously venting latent anger at the young woman anyway and that would explain why she does not feel an “attachment” to him and as though there is “something Missing”! This is of course all assumptions that are based on what the Mother has told me! So I could be like a mushroom in the dark and fed on ……. I know this might be the case and I am aware of it. I can handle it emotionally and deal with the lies later..I am true and honest so I have no fear in this regard.

            I do agree that the Mother should tell her daughter. What I struggle with is the time frame she asserts to me, as she has told me she’ll do it when it is right for her and before the end of the year! This is a position I can’t accept as reasonable as it leaves me in limbo, or a state of pending anxiety which is not good for my mental health, for far too long.

            One thing I have learnt in this life is to face issues (it clears one’s mind and enables progress,closure or to move on) and not push them under the carpet……..the mother has now set the wild hare running in my direction, not me…….I will face it now,one way or another..but I will face it.

            I now want to resolve this issue in the right and proper way and that has to be the Mother tells daughter asap. DNA Test. If she is my daughter we sit down, possibly with a counsellor, and decide what we both want from the relationship, if anything at all. I already know that I do want a relationship and I am prepared form a relationship. If she is not wanting the same with me then so be it; then I give her my contact details and tell her I’m here for her if she changes her mind.

            If she’s not my daughter then I walk away unharmed and the young woman is also unharmed and left knowing that her mother had an affair with me! This could be kept very private.

            I have to say what this blog has helped me to realise is my own position. Your questions, together with Andrew’s questions and legal advice has made me realise I am not going to walk away this time. Maybe I will have to wait for the Mother to tell her daughter…as you say I don’t want her thinking I’m a madman and send her running for the hills!

            Ultimately..what underpins most of my thinking is that the wrights of a child/young woman are paramount and has a right to know who her biological Father is…Parental figures are major figures in anyone’s life.

            I firmly believe that in my case the young woman has a very basic fundamental human right to know who is her biological Father…..

  72. Luke says:

    This is what i would do:
    (1) Tell the mother that she has one month to tell her daughter – give her a deadline date – or you will tell her unilaterally without any further discussion. It is better that her mother tells her but maybe she needs to be given an ultimatum to do it.
    (2) Ask the mother to tell you when it is done.
    (3) Don’t act on the deadline date – give it another week – once the deadline date has passed it might giver the mother the impetus to ‘bite the bullet’.
    (4) If her mother still doesn’t tell her then find a way to meet her (obviously without others being present) – and say perhaps:
    “I know you don’t know me and this is very difficult, but your mother has indicated that I might well be your biological father – I know this is a great shock but this is very important to me and I hope it is for you – so I would like for us to take a DNA test to find out. I know you would like to talk to your mother about this, I think she is scared to tell you, here is my contact card and I look forward to hearing from you when you are ready to talk”.
    Something like that anyway, hopefully it won’t come to that but I don’t think there is an easy way to broach that subject if you get to that point.
    I highly doubt there are any legal implications but I’m not a lawyer, it would be good if Marilyn or one of her team or Andrew could comment on this.

  73. Luke says:

    Note: After “I know you don’t know me and this is very difficult” I would use her first name – I did put that in in greater/less than parentheses (as I don’t know her name) but the system took it out 🙂

  74. Paternity Fraud – Part 1 | paternity fraud uk says:

    […] it doesn’t matter if a man is conned into believing another man’s child is his, she says so here. Well, that’s fine and dandy for her. As a woman, it is not a problem she will ever […]

  75. DE says:

    I will start at the beginning of my story.
    I had a good stable relationship with my partner everything seemed to be going great and then she found out that she was pregnant.
    Within two days she had moved hundreds of miles away and refused to talk to me, answer phone calls or letters. I spent most weekends driving this distance to try see my partner and help in any way I could with no effect.
    I wasn’t told about any progress with the pregnancy or when the child was even born!
    Once I did find out I had a daughter I was refused contact with no explanation other than it would be too hard to see me again, that’s when the CSA got involved taking money from my wages. This is when I asked for visitation rights and was told because I was not on the birth cert I had no parental rights and would need to do a DNA test. When I asked for a DNA test I was told I would have to do it all myself and apply through court if the mother refused.
    Fast forward 5 years to when I could afford to sort this mess out as financially could not afford to pay for the process before this, the daughter that I have fought to see and be a part in her life, to help grow and mentor into a good child and adult is not my daughter. All I wanted was to help and be there for my daughter all I wanted to do was the right thing. Do you think the mother had a hard time, no she got to see her daughter grow, she got to spend every day with her and as the courts say it is a privilege to bring up a child, to be part of the child’s life, but this was refused to me. I had to fight for everything not just money but all the emotions running, is my daughter walking, has she said her first word, I wonder if she got my gifts for her birth day. I have never met the child that was supposed to be my daughter this is why DNA testing should be available to any parent that requests it without the costs of court and solicitors unless there is a genuine reason not to.
    It doesn’t matter if a possible father is abusive (don’t get me wrong this is wrong on every level) he still has a right to know if he is the father. Just because a man is asking for DNA it doesn’t mean he gets to see the child it just means he knows for sure 100% that he is the father.
    This is just a small portion of what’s going on in my story I could sit for days telling you all the details.
    Yes there are men who abandon and run from responsibility who don’t provide for the children, and are punished accordingly (usually a little over punished) and there are a few who do get away with being self-employed not paying up. But what happens when it’s the other way around when the mother runs, refuses contact, refuses DNA. If I refuse DNA they presume im the father, if she refuses they don’t presume im not the father it’s on me to prove im not.
    FRAUD IS FRAUD if a single mum decided to con people out of money with an email scam or lie on her benefits she would be charged with a criminal offence be fined every time no questions asked that’s the minimum and possibly go to jail. If she knowingly lies about who the father of her child is there are in almost every instance no consequences no fines at all. It is the same crime FRAUD yet one is 100% accountable and the other 1% accountable, how can this be!

    Please excuse my spelling and grammar.

    • Andrew says:

      If a mother or CMEC say that A is the father and A says he isn’t (and is not married to the mother and has not formally acknowledged paternity) he should be entitled to DNA testing at the expense initially of the mother or CMEC – no ifs and no buts. (If they are married or he has acknowledged paternity then he should meet the cost up front).
      If the mother declines to cooperate then the claim for maintenance should be dismissed.
      It’s not rocket science that a man should not face major financial liability which might prevent him from founding a family to support a child whom he did not beget. DNA replaces guesswork and presumption and do it should.

    • Luke says:

      DE, you have to understand that if the woman decides that you are just going to be a cash cow then that’s how it usually is, in our system the way things work is that normally for all intents and purposes at birth it is regarded as HER child.

      You are the biological father (we assume), so you can expect to be a 2nd class parent – that’s generally the reality if the mother wants it to be that way.

  76. John Hayes says:

    The entire problem can be very easily resolved.

    A birth certificate is a legal document, before a man signs it there must be a paternity test added to the signature in order to authenticate it. You can’t just have anyone sign this document.

    Make this law and the problem is solved.

    Children are innocent and they should be protected, this fraud is against them also and has nothing to do with their welfare prospects.

    Woman are only human and do make mistakes; it’s best to stop this fraud at source as the truth usually come out in the end. It’s in their interest to cut loose at the first opportunity and come clean with the duped father. He may even decide to take on the child as his own which ought to attract applause from society not ridicule.

    Men have rights just like everyone else, insisting that they should be subject to fraud is aiding and abetting a fraud as well as circumventing the law for some politically correct rational that appeals to them.

  77. RN says:

    I really feel for fathers faced with this horrible situation and speaking from experience I can honestly say that it’s soul destroying.
    In my case a mother named me in a claim to The CSA knowing full well that I was not the biological father of her children, we both know who the father is as does her entire family.
    I could not afford a Dna test at the time of the claim and the mother in question refuses to pursue the biological father.
    Eight years on and my case is only just going to the ombudsman!
    I have never felt supported in this but the mother in question has had the full support of the CSA.

  78. VO says:

    Matthew Syed is definitely part of the problem, acting like not knowing, getting duped and accepting your fate is the best course of action for men. He is probably a male feminist too, since his arguments are strkingly close to that political circle.

    • JamesB says:

      A male feminist is a contradiction in terms. Unless you are a transgender male feminist, wanting to be a woman, like in Monty Python. Which is proving to be more visionary then I thought when I first saw The Life of Brian.

  79. Nick Barnes says:

    I’m am currently in a position where my ex from 14 years ago has finally decided to tell me I’m the father of her daughter DNA test have proven this but she knowingly passed my daughter off as another mans and put him on birth certificate and let him believe he was her father he as just been through court and got access . My daughter now doesn’t want any contact with me has her mother has told her many lies but the ex is now demanding maintaince which we’ve been paying but can’t afford my wife is working extra hours to try cover this . I feel that the facts are a women can commit paternity fraud lie to me the other man and also her own child and get away with it and now try rip my family apart whilst we pay her monthly for a child I know nothing about for 14 years being robbed of my daughter and being totally devastated just feel it’s so wrong

  80. Jim says:

    Hi Marilyn. I have read your article with interest. I believe that paternity fraud is a form of emotional and psychological abuse towards the child in question, and the duped father. It is perpetrated by the mother, who is also a victim, of her own dishonesty or compulsive behaviour in sexual matters.

    It is an abuse of the child’s relationships with the duped father, as a result of the mother’s dishonesty. It is also an abuse of the child’s relationship with the mother, based as it is in lies.

    It’s hard to imagine the extent of the emotional and psychological harm that discovery of this could cause the child, and his or her sense of identity and security in the world, when he or she has been deceived so thoroughly by his or her mother.

    It’s also hard to imagine the harm that this behaviour causes to the father, who is also subject to the same dishonesty.

    I am dealing with such a situation in my family at present and would welcome any academic articles, books or information on support groups that you have on the subject that could help further my understanding. Thanks and best wishes, Jim

  81. J says:

    So many different situations, it’s scary that in our time women do such awful lies, duping men into thinking they bringing up their own biological children – for years! This is truly a fraud, and illegal one! As a woman, I’m schocked that so-called life partners are capable of such a grave lie! With so many consequences.
    I agree when someone earlier here said, that even being young when fell pregnant and felt lost & confused, well, you had 10+ years to come clean!!

    This fraud even worse than robbing a bank, as it has such long lasting psychological & financial effects, that only a victim can truly understand the full depth of horror.

    My partner split up with his ex 3-4 years ago. That relationship produced 2 children – a boy 11.5 yo and a girl of 8.5 yo. Me and my partner met after his split ( last year) and have been living together ( in my apartment) for just over a year now.

    At the start of our relationship I was a witness to his ex behaviour – she would cancel his planned visit to see children a day in advance, sometimes 2 weekends in advance and only tell him he can see them, knowing we had a planned short trip abroad planned in advance. I think she was trying to see who will he choose. So immature.

    We spent 6-7 first months of our relationship trying to deal with her, to the point of reporting her to police for harassing, as well as spending over £2K on solicitor during those 6 months to try and establish a pattern of visitation.

    She also tried to alienate the children towards him, as well as me at the start – saying to them, you don’t want to be bosses around by dad’s new girlfriend, right?
    So all this experience has put me off of her and her children.
    I myself always was looking for someone with no kids. And my partner knew it, when we met but didn’t tell me the truth till few weeks later.
    I truly wish he didn’t have such baggage but we love each other and we both making effort to make it work, both of us making a compromise. He’s seeing the children 2 Saturday’s a month – anywhere else, but not where we live.
    As I truly don’t want the children then otherwise reporting back to their mother how we live and what we have.
    At some point she tried to take him to CSA to get more money off him but ended up with much less compared to what he offered originally.
    After almost a year, she tried again and we offered her, as a good will gesture, to accept the original offer by signing a letter that she won’t be involving CSA anymore.

    It’s now all more or less become routine but she would still try and blame my partner or me for something. Recently saying to him, that I don’t let him park close to her front door when dropping children off, because I’m jealous. Haha
    She’s not good looking woman, work part time as a cleaver. And me – tall, with 3 degrees, entrepreneur and work in a super luxury industry. I come from nothing, came to this country with almost no money and no English 20 years ago and worked my way up.
    So no, I’m not jealous, I’m just very wary of what she can throw next at us and that’s why have no wish for us to to end up standing next to each other. She says to him she’s the civilised one and I’m just jealous. lol Well, I won’t even bother
    To react to her as I’m sure she does it on purpose to get a reaction from me.

    Anyhow, apparently my partner both parents, as well as in the past own sister of his ex, always thought that the older boy has no resemblance with him at all.
    Even recently, when his dad saw his grandson 2nd time since 8 years ago ( my partner ex created situation) and granddaughter- first time. All thanks to me. As the girl was growing up thinking her grandad is a bad person.
    Which is such a lie, both parents of my partner highly educated and were involved with schools as teachers in their time.

    The point I’m trying my to get to, my partner never had a connection with his son and with people close to him, saying are you sure he’s yours? I suggested that we do a DNA test, but the one you can do without his ex knowing.
    At least to try and establish if he’s really his or not.

    We are posted by the swab sticks today and probably will get an answer early next week. I hope there won’t be a need to re-take them!

    I know my partner will stop paying her if he’s not his, and will only pay half of the amount towards his daughter. As well as he will want to take himself of his birth certificate as his father and surname. He gets angry just thinking if she might have lied to him for all these 12 years. As if he knew it wasn’t his at the start, he wouldn’t have agreed to make up with her and then have a second child.

    I won’t lie, I do want the results to show it’s not his.
    As we both are trying for ivf next month and if it will work and I’ll get pregnant with a boy, it will be his only son.

    The only thing that makes me concerned is how and who should tell the boy that my partner is not his biological father. Should his ex contact the biological father to get the child maintenance and get him involved into the boy’s life?

    Here are potentially 2 victims. And I believe they both have a relationship gut to know the truth.

    Of course, if the result will confirm he’s the father – nothing changes then. But if not, I want to know in advance what would be our steps.

    Many thanks in advance

    • Kate Nestor says:

      Hi, thank you for your comment. I have passed your details to our Client Care Team who will be in touch. Kind regards,

  82. Hugh Mann says:

    Ms Stowe looks straight past the simple fact that maternity is always a certainty for a woman, barring something relatively recent like IVF or surrogacy where maternity fraud is possible (though very unlikely given there’d need to be more than one dishonest party involved). She carries the child and delivers it.

    It’s never a certainty for a man, which is why historically adultery by a wife has been considered a greater crime than adultery by a husband. His adultery may be wrong, but it won’t mean his wife spends 20 years raising and bonding with another woman’s offspring.

    I note that the suggestion of DNA tests at birth is ignored – maybe some gynocentrism showing? It would certainly be easy to do – IIRC blood tests (the heel prick around 5 days) are given to nearly all babies.

    I think the genetic genie is well and truly out of the bottle now, much as Ms Stowe would like to put it back. There are already cases of people getting their DNA analysed by 23andMe or Ancestry and having to have that “difficult conversation”.

    Btw, why are the interests of the child always paramount? They are innocent parties, but isn’t the wronged ‘father’ also an innocent party? Why aren’t his rights just as important? And, as people have pointed out, the child’s interests don’t get much of a look-in if the father is a murderer or a fraudster and goes to prison for a decade.

    Thanks to SFL anyway – I came here while searching to see if what’s called in the US “Paternity by Estoppel” applies in the UK. I see that in practice it does.

  83. Cyprian says:

    I was a victim of paternity fraud; my then wife had a son and although I had my doubts I accepted him as my own. The mother behaved badly to me but because of the son stayed until my wife asked for a divorce; she denied there was another man and said she was sick of the relationship. In the end I found out there was a man and she left me. In the meantime I did a blood test on the “son” and found out he could not be mine and confronted the mother who denied furiously until I threatened to get a DNA test and use that as the reason for divorcing her. She then became tearful and said she had been raped by someone she did not know who called to our home but I already knew who the father was likely to be and when I told her she went silent so I offered to divorce her on other grounds and give her a nominal sum otherwise the world and her intended would learn of her behaviour. The next day she came back and accepted my offer and I kept most of my money and my property; I did agree to pay maintenance for the child but when I did not pay I asked her to report me which she did not dare do.

  84. Gallienus says:

    Nobody wants to unknowingly raise a child that isn’t theirs. To ensure a newborn baby is not accidentally separated from its biological mother, hospitals take footprints and put tags on mother and baby. On the rare occasions there is a mix up (usually by accident), it makes headlines and results in hefty compensation payouts. Perhaps hospitals should just hand the new mother any baby and if she finds out years later that it’s the wrong one, tough. After all, does it really matter if a woman ends up unwittingly raising a child that someone else gave birth to? Best interests of the child and all that.

    Or does biology not matter only when it concerns the father?

    Most men would just leave the mother and move on if they found out immediately that a child was not theirs. Women who commit paternity fraud evidently know this too, otherwise there would be no need for the deception. Paternity fraud costs men time, money and possibly the opportunity to have their own biological families, things that are not recoverable. Being forced to pay child support for someone else’s child deprives his own children. What of their best interests? It denies the real father a relationship with a child he may never have even known about. Of course, he has no rights here either. There is also the incalculable emotional trauma to consider.

    “Best interests of the child”? No one ever defines exactly what this means. It is also routinely ignored when convenient. Apparently, it’s not in the child’s best interests to know its real father or lose the support of the putative father, yet courts have no qualms about depriving children of fathers in other circumstances: imprisoning fathers who commit crimes or refusing to enforce visitation orders when mothers ignore them. Is it really in the child’s best interests to be raised under false pretences, when there is a chance that sooner or later the truth will emerge anyway. “Best interests of the child” is all too often a convenient, self-righteous excuse to justify all manner of injustices inflicted on men.

    A man in the US who was raped by a woman while he was unconscious was ordered to pay child support when she had his baby. The court’s justification? It was in the “best interests of the child”.

    Underage boys who are manipulated into sex by their adult female teachers have to pay child support if she gets pregnant. “Best interests of the child” again. No, not that child, the one who wasn’t a victim of child abuse.

    Another man was sent to prison when he refused to pay child support for a child that DNA testing had proven was not even his. Yep, it was in the “best interests of the child” to enforce a child support order against an unrelated stranger who’d never even met the kid.

    It’s pretty telling that the author’s solution is not redress for victims or legal consequences for criminals who commit fraud, but to advocate banning over the counter DNA tests. Oh for the good ol’ days when men raised someone else’s offspring in blissful ignorance.

    • Mignon says:

      thank you for this…. I was having a hard time calming down enough to formulate a coherent response to the blatant misandry espoused in this lawyer’s op-ed.
      The only thing I would have added is the data….
      Anecdotal Data
      In 2004, surveys by a popular female magazines , found Forty-two per cent would lie about contraception in order to get pregnant, no matter the wishes of their partner.
      Half said that if they became pregnant by another man but wanted to stay with their partner, they would lie about the baby’s real father.
      Empirical Data
      2008 UK study found between 10-19% of mother’s misidentified their child’s paternity.
      A 1999 study by the American Association of Blood Banks that found that in 30 percent of 280,000 blood tests performed to determine paternity, the man tested was not the biological father.
      Another study in the US, the number of paternity tests increased from 142,000 in 1991 to 310,490 in 2001.

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