Being a father is a big responsibility, and it’s not a responsibility that just anyone is prepared to accept. Unfortunately the laws in California make it amazingly easy for just anyone to have that responsibility thrust upon them. This injustice has already been inflicted upon thousands of innocent men in California, and the problem is growing worse with each passing day.

If you are a male residing in California (or even elsewhere in the country), there are some important things you need to know about. The first thing is you can be named as the father of anyone’s child, whether you have met them before or not. You could be a virgin, infertile, or even trans-gender, and it won’t matter one bit to your legal obligations to raising the child if you don’t take action within a very narrowly defined window of time.

Knowing this, many women exploit this particular area of law for their own financial gain. The true father of the child may be known to them, but that individual doesn’t have sufficient steady earnings or life expectancy to make it worthwhile pursuing them. So they go after some other more affluent individual instead.

Many people who are victims of this scam don’t even know they are victims until it is too late. If the perpetrator can accurately estimate when you’ll be away from your residence for an extended amount of time, this is all that is necessary for them to claim a share of your income for the next 18 years. If you don’t happen to be around when the sheriff comes knocking or the notice arrives in the mail, you’re at a distinct disadvantage. After 30 days, a default judgment will be made against you, and from then on you are considered to be legally the parent of the child, except in some very special circumstances.

A 2003 study by the Urban Institute found that at that time up to 70% of outstanding child support debts could be attributed to these default judgments, and often those targeted had no idea they were in any trouble at all.

As for female Californians, a few things you should know include that you do have a right to claim financial support from the legitimate father of the child except if you were married when the child was born and your husband was still alive. Otherwise your husband will be an assumed father, and this is true in every case except where you were divorced or your husband died more than nine months before the birth of the child.

Oceanside paternity lawyers Fischer & Van Thiel caution that paternity law is very complex and anyone involved in a dispute over paternity should tread lightly and get expert legal assistance. Even seemingly impossible situations, including already completed summary judgments, may have solutions if the case is handled correctly.

The important thing is to always act quickly. It’s worth noting that paternity fraud is very rarely prosecuted, and that can be discouraging to those who are victims of it. You could though, be able to make use of the law to strike back. An expert lawyer can advise and assist you.