Paternity Fraud

Read this in: Spanish / Español
Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid

Before You Tell Him He’s The Daddy….

An Iowa Supreme Court case says a man could bring a law suit in the following situation:

1)      A mother of a child tells the man he is the father, AND

2)      She knows, or has reason to believe, that he isn’t  the father, AND

3)      She accepts voluntary (not court ordered) payments of child support from that man.

This kind of case is called Paternity Fraud.  So, if a mother knows that a man is not (or even may not be) the father but she accepts voluntary child support from him, she can be taken to court. If she loses, she might have to pay the money back and even pay for other costs associated with the case. 

Paternity Fraud does not apply to cases where there is court-ordered child support. If a man, who has been paying court-ordered child support payments, proves that he is not the father, the law will only stop future payments. 

To avoid problems, it is best to be sure before naming someone as the father of your child .Inexpensive paternity tests are available at drug stores.  If you’re not sure and you get money from him to support that child, you could be forced into court and financial hardship. 

Iowa Legal Aid provides help to low-income Iowans. 
To apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid:call 800-532-1275. 
Iowans age 60 and over, call 800-992-8161 or 
apply online at
If Iowa Legal Aid cannot help, look for an attorney on “Find A Lawyer” on the Iowa State Bar Association website   A private attorney there can talk with you for a fee of $25 for 30 minutes of legal advice.
*As you read this information, remember this article is not a substitute for legal advice. 


Last Review and Update: Jan 24, 2024
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