Both identical twins must pay child support, court rules

Originally published at:


Our generation’s King Solomon, this one. I like it. Hey, shitheads? next time - well, you know, use protection - but also, just flip a coin, and write up a contract that you’ll split the costs.


Sounds more like they belong in prison for rape by impersonation…

The judge said the twins had used their resemblance to impersonate each other and date as many women as possible, and then defend themselves from allegations they were cheating on girlfriends.

I do wonder though…I’m not a biologist, but my understanding is that there are subtle changes in germline DNA over time. Would a complete germline genome sequence be able to distinguish them apart and identify the father of the child?

Not that I feel sorry for these low-lifes. As far as I’m concerned they’re getting off easy.


The men refused to say which one of them had fathered the child, assuming they would then be able to escape having to pay.

I was prepared to be outraged on behalf of the innocent twin, but by this account they conspired to both deserve this order.


Well then, always marry triplets or more.


This is in stark contrast to a murder case in Poland where DNA evidence was key to the conviction and killer (whichever one it was, if not both) walked free.


Dunno what the law is in Poland, but in the US if all they had was DNA evidence the existence of an identical twin who also had means and opportunity would pretty much guarantee reasonable doubt.


I’m sure if he offered to cut the child in two both of those guys would have been OK with it.


It’s interesting, though, because in theory the same would apply to this case.

1 Like

Hard to believe this announcement wasn’t accompanied by chants of “JERRY! JERRY!”


In order to have a theory we’d need to know the applicable law. In the US the standard for criminal conviction is different than the standards used to determine child support orders. So the criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable standard of doubt” doesn’t apply to child support orders (but I don’t know if twins could be held jointly responsible based on conspiracy to conceal the identity of the father - IANAL). And this case isn’t a US case, so I can’t really extrapolate our quirks of law to theirs.


Except in this case we know that the twins were conspiring together to avoid either having to pay up child support, we just don’t know which one physically fathered the child. In the Polish case it’s not clear there was any such conspiracy to cover up a crime.


Biologist here and no, not like that I don’t think. My understanding is that germ line mutations are comparatively rare. Differences in appearance between identical twins over time are from epigenetic modifications that change which genes are expressed, rather than the DNA sequence itself.

Edit: As far as full genome sequencing goes, I’m willing to bet the court wouldn’t have the budget for the kind of high-accuracy reads you’d need to distinguish between twins


given what @GulliverFoyle pointed out – even they themselves might not know


In a criminal case like the Polish murder case @Ratel mentioned, then yes, it would likely create reasonable doubt (assuming the jury agreed) in a US court. But child support cases are normally civil cases in the US, and reasonable doubt won’t nessicarily get someone off the hook. I have no idea if this Brazilian child support case was a criminal or civil matter, but I seem to recall Brazilian law being quite different from US law since it wasn’t derived from English common law.


Identical twins don’t have identical fingerprints. Get the fellow’s name, and carry a fingerprint scanner.

“I’d love a drink, can I just get you to put your finger onto the scanner first?”


Probably not a bad thing to say back…


Okay, thanks. I had been thinking about this RadioLab episode…

In the second segment, You Are What Your Grandpa Eats they cite a study showing a correlation between certain hereditary characteristics and the diet of the parent or grandparent around the time of the formation of sperm. I just wondered if that meant some mutations occurred during that time that may differ even between identical twins. But I don’t remember if the episode mentioned if the genes responsible were known or not, or how rare it was.


Apparently- They can tell identical twins apart on some subtle genetic differences and epigenetic differences - not sure that that would transfer to offspring clearly. Did that come from the mom? Did it arise due to a mutation or other process?