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Many fathers support children who are not their own

Child support, at the base level, is very simple. The non-custodial parent is expected to contribute something to help with raising the child so that the other parent does not have to bear all of those costs alone. Married couples naturally split the costs, after all, so this is done to ensure that divorced couples also share them.

However, there are many problems with the way this system works in reality. One issue that is not reported often, but which some have described as epidemic, is the way that fathers are sometimes forced to support children who are not biologically related to them.

Do you think that the odds of this happening are low? Studies have actually shown that 30 percent of fathers paying support are giving it to children who are not their own.

This happens in a few different ways. For example, if a mother signs up to get welfare benefits for herself and a child, the application asks for the father's name, and she has to write one down. She may knowingly or accidentally write the name of a man who isn't the father, and she does not have to offer proof other than her word.

Another way that this can happen is when a child is born and a man truly believes that he is the father, so he signs the paperwork claiming the child at the hospital. Later on, he finds out that the woman -- perhaps his wife, but perhaps not -- had been seeing someone else, and the child was not his.

In some cases, DNA evidence is not even enough to get these child support orders overturned, though one would logically assume that would be more than enough evidence. As such, it's critical for these men to know all of the legal options they have in Massachusetts if they're being forced to pay unfairly.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Problems With Paternity: Fraud To Securing Parental Rights," Joseph E. Cordell, accessed July 15, 2016

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