The Legal Obligations To Pay Child Support When Biologically Paternity Is Not Established

When two parties decide to divorce, issues concerning paternity will often come up. When emotions are high, it's common for some fathers to question whether a child is biologically theirs or not. Depending on the state in which you live, how the birth certificate is signed, and who has raised the child so far, will all play a role in determining if child support payments will be due.

The Presumed Father Pays Child Support Unless Paternity is Proven Otherwise

Being the presumptive father is determined if:

  • the couple was married at the time the child was born or conceived.
  • the couple got married after the child was born, and the man signed the birth certificate.
  • the father signed an acknowledgement of paternity form in probate court.
  • the father raised the child in his home, claiming the child as his.

While the legality of paying child support varies by state, a presumed father is one that has raised, loved, and cared for a child during their life. If the father is now questioning paternity, he can ask for paternity testing to see if the child is biologically his. A presumed father may need to pay child support, even if he proves through paternity testing that the child is not his.

Children are Protected from Fathers Who Want to Give Up Fatherhood

Fathers are responsible for paying child support for children that they have raised, children that they have led the world to believe are theirs, children they have adopted, and children who have the father's name on their birth certificate. Depending on the state, the time limit varies, but if a father signed a birth certificate and never questioned paternity, he is the legal father of the child. He is responsible for child support as the legal father and can't simply ask for a paternity test because he no longer feels like paying.

Demanding child support from a now estranged spouse can become complex. If you no longer want the child to have a relationship with the father, paying child support gives him rights as the legal father. It can work against you to have a legal father for your child, because they are entitled to visitation and possibly shared custody. While you should expect child support from a legal father, it is important to remember that this comes with an obligation to the father to allow a reasonable relationship.

When you are in the midst of a divorce and you don't know what to do about child custody and support payments, it's time to speak with a qualified attorney.