Larry Durden, a mason worker in Georgia says he is the victim of paternity fraud – the act of falsely naming a man as the biological father of a child. Durden said that he believed he was the father of a child for almost 11 years. But a few months ago, he started having doubts. Durden contacted a DNA testing lab and he took a paternity test. Needless to say the results were shocking. "It said '0'… he's not mine. So you know, that hurt… it grabbed me." said Durden.
Despite genetic evidence that Durden is not the boy's father, the state of Georgia is forcing him to continue paying $500 a month in child support. This may be surprising, but Larry Durden is far from alone. One of every three men who take a paternity test discovers a child a child they believed was theirs is not.
The state of Georgia can still go after the men for child support. If they fail to pay the state can garnish their wages, revoke their driver's licenses and put them in prison.
A high profile case last year helped to change the paternity laws. Carnell Smith believed he was the father of a boy, and found out through DNA testing he was not. He took his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Randy Kessler, Smith's lawyer, deals with paternity fraud cases often. "If a woman is having an affair, the last thing she wants to do as the child is being born is say, 'Uh, by the way, that baby you're holding in your arms may not be yours,'" said Kessler.
There is some hope for defrauded fathers. Ex-husbands and out-of-wedlock fathers can petition to end child support through DNA evidence, but one of the rules requires anyone fighting child support to file a challenge within 90 days of finding out they are not the father. Missing that deadline could severely hurt their case.
If you or a loved one is involved in a divorce, please contact the Raleigh divorce lawyers of Marshall & Taylor, PC at 919-833-1040.