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Paternity Fraud: Lying in a Birth Certificate

Posted by LEISA WINTZ | Jun 20, 2023 | 0 Comments

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What happens if you find out your kid isn't yours? Can someone who is not the biological father sign the birth certificate? Does signing a birth certificate establish paternity? The birth of a child is a significant event, and signing the birth certificate is often seen as an official acknowledgment of paternity. However, what happens if you sign a birth certificate and later discover that you are not the biological father? This situation, known as paternity fraud, raises important questions regarding legal rights, responsibilities, and potential repercussions. In this article, we will explore the concept of paternity fraud and the consequences of falsely acknowledging paternity or lying in a birth certificate.

Understanding Paternity Fraud

Paternity fraud refers to the act of falsely assigning legal and biological fatherhood to an individual who is not the biological father. It typically involves deceptive actions on the part of the mother and, in some cases, the father. By misleading someone into signing the birth certificate, paternity fraud is considered illegal, as the birth certificate holds legal significance as an official document.

When a man signs the birth certificate, he is essentially acknowledging both legal and biological fatherhood of the child. This act signifies his acceptance of paternity and the ensuing legal responsibilities, including financial obligations such as child support. Regardless of whether he is biologically related to the child or not, the act of signing establishes him as the legal father.

Paternity fraud has several victims who bear the consequences of this deceitful act. Firstly, the man who believes himself to be the biological father experiences profound emotional turmoil upon discovering the truth. His trust has been violated, and he may face significant challenges in dealing with the newfound reality. Finding out that a child you believed to be biologically yours is not can be a devastating revelation. It can shake the foundations of trust and raise important questions about your legal rights and responsibilities. Secondly, the actual biological father is deprived of his rights and opportunities to form a relationship with his child. Lastly, the innocent child becomes an unwitting victim of the deception, as their true parentage may be concealed, potentially affecting their sense of identity and family relationships.

Penalty for Lying on a Birth Certificate

Lying on a birth certificate can be considered forgery if it has been done with intent. Forgery is a serious offense in Florida, carrying significant penalties.

Under Florida law, forgery is classified as a Third Degree Felony, which can result in severe consequences. Upon conviction, an individual may face a maximum prison sentence of up to five (5) years and a fine of $5,000. In Florida's Criminal Punishment Code, forgery is designated as a Level 1 offense severity ranking, indicating the gravity of the crime. While probation may be a potential sentencing option, it is important to note that the court has the authority to impose the maximum statutory sentence of five years' imprisonment.

False paternity not only impacts the individuals involved but also affects the child and other parties connected to the situation. The legal, emotional, and financial ramifications can be significant. Moreover, intentionally providing false information on a birth certificate is a serious offense with potential legal penalties. Discovering that you are not the biological father of a child after signing a birth certificate is a distressing situation that requires careful consideration and legal action. Paternity fraud raises important questions regarding legal rights, responsibilities, and the well-being of all parties involved. If you find yourself in such a situation, seeking legal guidance from a qualified family law attorney is crucial. At Family Matter Lawgroup we can help you navigate the complex process of establishing paternity, rectifying the birth certificate, and safeguarding your rights moving forward. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

About the Author


Leisa Wintz originally began her career as a marriage and family therapist. Ms. Wintz went on to attend law school and started practicing family law in 2009. However, she quickly realized that many family law practices lacked the empathy and compassion she believed were necessary in order to achi...


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