What is superfecundation and how does it affect child support?

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Paternity/Child Support on Friday, May 15, 2015.

The answer to the DNA test would confound even the likes of Maury Povich: “John, you ARE the father. But — so is this other guy.” While impossible (one would think) for two men to father the same child, twins CAN each have a different father.

It sounds almost like science fiction or the theme of a reality show, but, scientifically, it is possible based upon a recent child support case. Even Time magazine covered the case, making the public aware of something called “superfecundation”. Before this story, most people probably thought that was a mispronunciation of a song title from “Mary Poppins”. But now the phenomenon is headline news.

According to the article in Time, the result may occur when a women is ovulating and has intercourse during a short period of time with two different men which results in two different eggs, each with its own DNA. The article cites a 1992 study showing that over 2 percent of paternity suits involving twins in the United Sates involved superfecundation. A 1997 study cited by the court shows that the situation occurs in about one of 13,000 paternity cases. One obstetrician says that the occurrence may be more common, but in most cases, a paternity test is never performed on twins.

So now that the scientific questions are answered, what happens in court when the mother sues for child support? Since the man who she sued for child support is biologically only the father of one of the twins, he cannot be required to pay child support for the other twin that was fathered by someone else. In this case, the man who was named in the suit was ordered to pay $28 per week.

Whether you are the father of one child, or one of a set of twins, or both twins, you have rights and obligations. In this case, the father who was not sued may actually want to have a hand in raising the child and he can assert his rights to do so. If, on the other hand, he has no intention of being a father to the child, he may still be obligated to pay child support.

Whether a usual paternity case or an anomaly like this, the importance of fathers’ rights and supporting one’s child cannot be overstated. In either instance, the advice of an attorney with experience in family law matters in Missouri can be valuable in determining your rights.

Source:, “Judge rules twin girls have different fathers, doctor says “it is more common than we think,” May 10, 2015

Secondary Source: Time, “The Science of How Women Can Have Twins With 2 Different Fathers,” Justin Worland, May 8, 2015

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