Laws governing the administration of paternal processes, vary from state to state within the United States. The U.S. court system allows states to enforce paternal sanctions even after they have been definitively determined that a man is not the biological father of the child. (Brott. 2008) Currently, these irregularities regarding paternity create egregious injustices such as, men who, through DNA testing, have been proven not to be the biological father of the child, still being force to pay child support; even to the extent of being at risk of imprisonment should the accuse fail to maintain monetary support. Because of the monetary component of paternity cases, low income men are at a greater risk of experience catastrophic life-circumstances as a result of paternity fraud. Because of the inconsistency of the varying laws governing paternal support in each state, low-income families with already scarce resources are faced with instances of caring and providing for a child (believing them to be a blood relative) only to find out later that the child was not related.
The disparities in the U.S. court system regarding paternity of low-income individuals has extreme effects on whether children would ever know their fathers, but they also lead to men being involuntarily held financially or legally responsible for children they did not biologically father; a burden that has disproportionate negative effects on a man with low-income. Dr. Vincent Miller contends “Nearly 30% of the tested paternity cases in our laboratory result in an exclusion of the “alleged father” presented as the biological father.” (2010). The mere allegation of a man’s paternity, results in the U.S. court system entering financially, as well as criminally binding judgments. Once caught up in the system, a wrongly accused man faces a systemic dismantling of his freedom, creditability, and emotional stability. Frank Hatley was recently released from jail after serving time for owing back child support for a child that was later proven by DNA testing not to be his. (8/11/09). http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/08/11/georgia.child.support/index.html. Currently, there are no studies that assess the recovery process of a victim of paternity fraud. After a year in jail, what becomes of a man’s employment, family, finances, or mentality? Purpose Statement
This is a qualitative study that will examine the avenues for relief after experiencing the impact of paternity (Creswell. 2009). Research Questions
Is the U.S. Court system equipped to make whole a victim of paternity fraud? What are the positive and negative effects of current inconsistent state laws as experienced by the victims of paternity fraud? How do current laws influence the intent to commit fraud?
How do current laws encourage the state to abet paternity fraud rather than correcting the results of paternity fraud? How do current laws contribute to a culture of unfairness with regard to non-custodial paternal-sanctions? Would standardization of DNA Paternity testing prevent unfair penalties? Would standardization of DNA Paternity testing improve medical history reliability? Could definitive DNA test results provide the basis for legal relief to a man held responsible for a fathering a child in error? What steps must a victim take to seek recovery through the courts What are the costs involved in contesting an incorrect paternity decision? Are there any incentives for the mother to seek correction?
Are there any penalties levied on the false accuser?
Brott, A. (2008, Jul 27). Paternity fraud common. Sun Journal. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/378934753?accountid=14872 Child support, money, emotions, and victims of paternity fraud: New survey. (2009, Sep 23). PR Newswire. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/447485536?accountid=14872 CHRI, S. Q. (2001, May 16). As DNA tests rule out paternity, men sue to stop support payments. The Atlanta Constitution. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/413895636?accountid=14872 Courts ignore paternity fraud. (2007, Dec 12). The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/379923439?accountid=14872 Father takes DNA paternity fraud case to U.S. supreme court. (2002, May 31). U.S.Newswire. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/450942550?accountid=14872 Leeds, T. L. (2005). Paternity fraud, the poor person’s adoption and the interests of the child. American Journal of Family Law, 19(1), 20-24. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/275150869?accountid=14872 Mandatory DNA testing would protect against paternity fraud. (2001, Feb 28). Washington Times. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/409646680?accountid=14872 Research Plan
The participants of this study will be selected from low-income men actively contesting paternity in U.S. courts as well as custodial parents in order to gain the negative analysis of the phenomenon. (Lincoln & Guba. 1985) The natural setting will be litigants within the State Courts system involved with matter of Paternity. (Lincoln & Guba. 1985) This setting will be relevant to the phenomenon being studied. (Smeaton. 2008) Information will be collected through focus group interviews and surveys. Participants will be engaged via open ended questions regarding their experience. (Sarkar. 2014) The instruments used to measure outcomes will be the researcher who will inquire of the respondents. Researcher will ensure to guard against personal bias. (Sarkar. 2014) Research will consist of prolonged engagement to glean additional insight into whether participants in a paternity contest can again regain equilibrium within their lives. (Lincoln & Guba. 1985) Threats to validity will be selection, candor (existence of undisclosed extenuating circumstances), instability of respondents; cause difficulty in locating them at regular reporting intervals. The results will allow recommendations to be made to improve the paternity process, based on analysis of the data collected.
Biotechnology; DNA technology roots out paternity fraud. (2010). Life Science Weekly, , 287. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/746790449?accountid=14872 Child support, money, emotions, and victims of paternity fraud: New survey. (2009, Sep 23). PR Newswire. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/447485536?accountid=14872 Courts ignore paternity fraud. (2007, Dec 12). The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/379923439?accountid=14872 Creswell, J. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (Laureate Education, Inc., custom Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2008). Quantitative methods, an example. Baltimore: Author
Lincoln, Y.S., & Guba, E.G. (1985). Naturalistic Inquiry. Thousand Oaks: CA. Sage. Mandatory DNA testing would protect against paternity fraud. (2001, Feb 28). Washington Times.
Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/409646680?accountid=14872 Sreeroopa, S. (2014). Qualitative research methods. Media: Retrieved from Laureate Education, Inc.