Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Case Law Development: False Statements in Divorce regarding Paternity Do not Equal Extrinsic Fraud on the Court

The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court's dismissal of an action claiming extrinsic paternity  fraud regarding children alleged in a 2005 divorce judgment to be born of the marriage.  However, the court found that the dismissal could not properly be based on the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel.
The court reasoned that extrinsic fraud may be a basis for reopening a judgment, but went on to note that the ex-husband's claim here — Wife's false averments in a divorce petition and her sworn testimony in court regarding his paternity of their two children — was intrinsic fraud only.
Walker v. Walker, Mo. Ct. App., WD69198, (January 13, 2009)
opinion online (last visited January 21, 2009)

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What about TRUE Paternity Fraud? If one finds out one was lied to years into expensive support or long after the children were emancipated, what of the thousands of dollars surrendered to the mother (married, divorced or otherwise)? And what of the Bio-father never having paid at all?

Indeed there may be signed documentation that at the time support was ordered, as the male thought he truely was the father, or (more often)where the social workers and support reps in low income cases pushed for signature by threatening jail for non-compliance. Uneducated, uncounseled (and most likely poor) persons responding to the threats, not knowing they have rights, may blindly sign acknowledgment, then find out years later that they were duped.

Of all the reports of paternity fraud in various related web sites and with legal challenges appearing throughout the country increasing, (some at Supreme Court level), why hasn't there been class action suits filed against the states that seemingly support this institutionlized form of fraud-based income for unscruplous, system using, moms on state assistance?

Can-Of-Worms fear?

Posted by: G. Young | Jun 9, 2009 10:57:52 AM

I have never read more stupid court decision. I understand that if you are a woman toy will be allowed to tell lies under oath and after that you will be rewarded with a lot of $$$$$$$$$$$$

Posted by: George | Aug 18, 2010 9:36:56 AM

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