Expert studies suggest that around 3% of the child population of the world are growing up believing that they have been partly created by someone other than their true biological father.
There are many reasons why the parentage of a child can be questionable. It is not for the likes of me to delve into the rights or wrongs of that from any kind of moral viewpoint but the issue of wrongly named fathers can apply to the issue of fraud.
In several cases the true father of a child can be unknown due to the mother having had more than one partner around the time of conception. Subsequent events and discussions can then have an effect on who ends up being named on the baby’s birth certificate.
The issue of paternity fraud arises when the mother names a man as a child’s father, quite deliberately, whilst knowing full well that he isn’t, or when she has serious doubts.
Paternity fraud is not a new phenomenon by any means. At the risk of being politically incorrect and sexist, I would suggest that in centuries gone by the need for a woman to have a man to protect her was essential. At the dawn of our existence a woman who was pregnant, or who had a small child or baby, would rely upon a man for protection and survival. When humans lived in caves a single mother simply would not have survived the harsh realities of life for very long.
In the modern day, the main motivator behind paternity fraud is more likely to be the child support / maintenance system. Here in the UK, like many other Western countries, as soon as a woman names a man as the father of her baby she instantly becomes entitled to a huge array of benefits and payments.
Unlike traditional justice where one is innocent until proven guilty, the onus, and cost, is very much upon the man to prove that he is NOT the father or else he may become liable for providing the cost of housing and maintenance for both the mother and child.
Another motivation behind paternity fraud may be social or cultural reasons. Even in this liberal society in which we now live, there are many people who feel the need to be married before, during or very quickly after a pregnancy. To whom they are married may not be quite so important though!
Aditionally, there are some cultures and religions that almost dictate who their women can have relationships with. If these women should become pregnant by another man then the consequences can be extreme, even fatal in some cases.