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Part 2: Paternity fraud and DNA testing

In the previous post, we discussed a case that is awaiting a decision from the Tennessee Supreme Court. A father brought a civil claim of fraud against his ex-wife after discovering that the boy he thought was his son for many years was actually the son of another man.

This type of fraud case, paternity fraud, has never been raised before the Tennessee Supreme Court until this point. The decision in this case has a number of implications for fathers' rights, paternity fraud, child custody, and even child support issues.

In the past, the courts have not dealt with these types of cases. However if the court does decide that paternity fraud creates a cause of action, it could mean additional lawsuits just like this one in the future. The Tennessee Supreme Court has its work cut out for them. Other states are split on whether paternity fraud should be an issue settled in court.

An additional debate that has been sparked as a result of this case is whether DNA testing should be mandatory at the birth of a child. The tests would only be required if the parents are not married at the time of the child's birth. Could that reduce the need for a paternity lawsuit in the future?

Supporters of DNA testing believe that by requiring it at birth, there is little to no chance of a father falsely relying on the mother's word for a number of years before discovering the truth. Paternity fraud does cause some financial problems for the parent, but there are so many emotional factors as well.

The parents are not the only ones impacted by a case of paternity fraud. The child or children involved are also confronted with an unfortunate truth about who their parents are. Ultimately, many agree that the biggest concern is how it affects the kids. Would DNA testing early on protect kids from future emotional trauma?

Source: The Tennessean: "TN high court to set limits for paternity fraud suits," Brandon Gee, Aug. 21, 2011.

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