Can Woman be Jailed for Naming Wrong Father on Birth Certificate?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“My son was born in Illinois and when I signed the birth certificate with the man I was with at the time, he told me he wanted his name on it, even knowing that it was a 50% chance he was not the father.  He pressured me at the time and I signed it with him.  My son is now 12 and we are no longer together. We were together for 18 years, but never married. He took his own DNA test and is not the father.  He said that I will go to jail for perjury because I signed him as the father.  He wants to be the father but does not want to pay child support. We have a court date and he wants me to drop this.  Will I go to jail and do I need a lawyer?  I have the state helping me now.”

Since it seems as though you both cannot come to an agreement outside of court, you can petition the Court for support from the child’s father.  Likely, the Court will order a paternity test, and pending the results, will determine what, if any, support is appropriate.  If you are concerned that you may need a lawyer, you should contact a lawyer who practices family law in your area.  Perjury is extremely fact-dependent and should be handled by an attorney, however it seems that you reasonably believed that he was as likely to be the father as the other man, and so if the *only* thing you did was sign on the birth certificate that he was the father, then the odds are small that you would face a perjury issues. However, representation will be extremely beneficial, if not necessary, to your success in the matter.