Should A Biological Mother Be Financially Accountable to a Father Under the Law, Who Turns Out Not to Be Their Child’s Father Biologically?

Tennessee Husband and Wife have a Son together.

Husband and Wife divorce.

Son now lives primarily with Husband.

Husband learns that Son is not Husband’s biological offspring, but rather the product of an affair by Wife.

Husband sues Wife to recover child support and for damages due to emotional distress caused by Wife’s fraud.

At trial, the family court awards Husband $26,000 in child support and $100,000 in emotional distress damages.

Wife appeals. And the intermediate level appellate court strikes the financial awards to Husband.

Husband appeals. And the state Supreme Court will address for the first time whether a defrauded father may sue for child support and/or damages due to paternity fraud.

This is an issue that will not go away. After years of lobbying by men’s rights groups, numbers of states, including Florida, passed legislation permitting legal fathers to disprove that they are the biological fathers of their legal children and avoid future child support payments.

The catch is that the legal father must mount his legal challenge pretty quickly. And that is believed to be true in the other states as well as Florida.

Further, the sole remedy to date is believed to be termination of child support, but not recovery of previously paid support – or damages. That would represent a significant departure and a new page in our law books.

Not to mention the impact it would have on the innocent children who are the subjects of these disputes.

Read more in this WREG TV News 3 article: Tennessee Supreme Court could determine whether paternity fraud is grounds to sue and this Insurance Journal article: Father’s Day: Tennessee Court Considers Paternity Fraud, Damages.