The Twins Paradox in Family Law

UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1950s:  Twin girls in hats & coats wearing white gloves.
By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 16, 2019 12:00 PM

Judge Felipe Luis Peruca was not about to be frustrated.

In a child support case, twin brothers pointed to each other as the father of the child. DNA tests didn't help because the twins were identical and their genetic code matched. So the judge did the next best thing. He ordered both of them to pay child support.

That's justice, Brazilian style.

Twins Paradox

The twins paradox is not just a problem in physics; it's a problem in the law, too. DNA tests show identical twins are a 99.9 percent match. New genetic mutation tests may solve the puzzle, but they haven't reached the level of admissible evidence in the United States.

Brazil, of course, is another story. Peruca, a district court judge, resolved the issue in his own way. He was convinced the brothers were lying, and that was proof enough.

He found that they used each other's names to "randomly and fraudulently" trick women. They used each other's names to double their conquests or to hide their betrayals, the judge said. "One of them is acting in bad faith in order to hide the fact that he is the father," he said. "Such vile behavior cannot be tolerated by the law."

Peruca wasn't about to let them go without paying child support. He ordered each brother to pay $60 a month, which is twice as much as would normally be assessed in Brazil.

Splitting the Baby

The judge had some precedent: it was a reverse-King Solomon ruling. Not exactly in the Family Code, but it worked.

It's not as complicated when twins are diverse -- like the case of the mother who gave birth to an African-American and Chinese twins. Right? That was a surrogacy case, where anything can happen. One twin was fathered by the woman's spouse, and other child came from a Chinese couple who hired her as a surrogate.

It's not clear what the order of conception was, but the fertilized egg probably came first. Probably.

Related Resources: