Should Fathers Have To Pay Child Support If They Discover By Paternity Test They Are Not The Biological Parent?Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Paternity is a contentious issue in some cases, and that goes for whether the presumed father was or was not married to the child’s mother. The news that a child they believed was theirs is actually not biologically their child can shake a man’s foundation. Having a child is to some men the greatest feeling in the world. They care for the child, play with the child, and develop a relationship. When news breaks that the child isn’t theirs, it can rip the floor from under them. Such a revelation often ends in divorce or severing of a relationship. Then they’re faced with a big question: should they pay child support, and do they have to?
For some men who discover they are not the biological parent of a child, paying to support somebody else’s child is a humiliating slap in the face, especially knowing they were betrayed and perhaps misled by the mother of the child. But the relationship they may develop leads a lot of men to pay child support if only so the child they have grown to love and adore has all they need. Unfortunately, the law is not always on their side and non-biological fathers are sometimes required to continue paying child support even if scientific evidence indicates that they are not the father.
Common sense seems to dictate that responsibility for supporting the child should fall to the biological father, not the non-biological father even if he was married to the child’s mother. But the law seems to interpret your taking responsibility as the father as acceptance of all responsibilities, including child support. This is even the case when the non-biological father was led to believe that he was the biological father of the child, or had no reason not to believe as much.
Some states, like California, assume that when the mother is married, her husband is the legal father unless otherwise stated on the birth certificate or if circumstances would have prevented him from being present at conception. It may be easier to avoid legal fatherhood if the couple is not married and a paternity test reveals that you are not the father.
The issue is extremely murky to add to the unpleasantness of the situation. It’s best to seek the counsel of a family law attorney who will answer your questions and advise you of your rights. In almost every case, though, you must get a neutral third-party paternity test to establish that you are not the child’s father; home paternity tests are not considered admissible in court.