Do I Have to Pay Child Support for a Child that Is Not Mine?

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When a marriage ends, it is expected for the father or mother to pay child support to the parent that earns less income and is taking care of any children from the marriage or that were acquiring in the relationship. However, there are certain instances where the father or mother is not forced to pay these fees based on the surrounding factors.

A child that is not biologically a manís offspring could be exempt from child support payments. However, this may require a paternity test to confirm that the blood is not related. This is important when the father is no longer part of the marriage and is not or no longer raising the youth. If the mother had an affair or if the young person was brought into the relationship after the marriage started, the father may not have the responsibility of providing child support for these little ones. However, without challenging the circumstances in court, he may be stuck paying for these children when he is no longer in the picture.

Some situations may need to establish if he is a putative father. This is a man that has a legal responsibility due to a relationship with the child even if it has not been established. The man may be or has claimed to be the biological father, but he is not married to the birth mother at the time the youth is born. The relationship has been established, but the paternity is still unknown until a paternity test has been completed. Sometimes the state presumes the man is the father, and he only has so much time to challenge this based on the state laws and time limits. It is important to know what laws affect the state where the family lives to determine the best course of action ahead for these persons.

The Marriage and Biological Children

Once paternity has been established, it is easier to remove a father from child support after he petitions the court for this action. However, when the child is born during the marriage, he is usually considered and applied as the biological parent. The man must consider the factors of the relationship and the characteristics of the young person before he could realize he may not be the father. However, if the youth is biologically his, he has a financial and legal responsibility to him or her even if the father is not the parent with custody.

Some states have an irrefutable presumption that the husband of the marriage is the father even if the DNA paternity test proves he is not. However, in other states, there is a strict time limit applied to these situations where paternity may be challenged. Unfortunately, when a divorce is finalized, and the challenge has not been issued, the man is deemed the father forever in the eyes of the law. Rebutting this is time sensitive and must be completed within this restriction or the man is then forced into being the father even if he does not want to be. These limits are based on state, and it is crucial to know what amount of days, weeks or months are available before the judgement seals the fatherís fate.

Children Entering before the Marriage

When a child is born before the couple have become married the states in certain areas of the country presume paternity on these putative fathers. After the birth of the baby, the father may have his name placed on the birth certificate. Additional support is provided in the home and the father explains that he is responsible for the young person. When telling a child he is the father, the courts often agree to these terms as well. However, if it is necessary to contest this with the court, the time limitations are very strict.

Consent to Father

The laws in the states will back up a person stating he is the father to ensure a child has a male authority figure as a parent. When presenting as the father, giving support and acting like the parent, the equitable doctrine of estoppel applies. And then, the young person may rely on him as his or her father. Once the courts become involved, future support is an obligation by law. Any challenge should be initiated with the help of a family law lawyer. He or she can explain a fatherís rights to him and what steps he may be able to take to seek reimbursement for support paid.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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