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Legal Review: Must You Pay Child Support After Finding Out the Child is Not Yours?

Courts typically expect divorced parents to continue looking after their children, because, in their opinion, it is not proper to “de-father” a child. But what happens when you, the father, discover the child was never biologically yours? Should you still be required to pay child support?

How about getting compensation for previously paid child support? These are valid questions that may arise in such cases.

Different factors will affect whether you should still pay child support as a non-biological parent or not. This article considers essential factors relating to child support to inform you better and help you understand the issue.

Factors to Consider Regarding Paying Child Support As a Non-biological Father

It is common for fathers to question child support after discovering the child is not biologically theirs. There are different factors to consider in this case, and most of them favor paying child support despite discovering the child’s status. You will learn more about these factors below.

  • Support

If you have provided substantial support to the child in the past, you will most likely be unable to avoid paying child support. Because you have acted as a parent before, courts would usually require you to keep supporting the child. This could include financial and emotional support and being present when necessary.

Courts like these prefer to make decisions in the child’s best interests. The courts see this as a safer option than having the child continue without a father figure. Since you have provided fatherly duties for a while and the child has identified you as such, most courts believe this is the best choice.

  • DNA Tests

Family courts are all about what is best for the child. They will require you to support the child even after proving you are not the biological father. While a paternity test result provides evidence concerning parenthood, many courts may refuse to eliminate child support after providing one.

  • Children Born Into Marriage

In most states, the man is assumed to be the biological father when a child is born during a marriage. According to the law of these states, the man will be recognized as the biological father, even though a paternity test later proves otherwise. However, a man can still petition the court to overturn his paternity in some states.

In these states, there is usually a strict time limit to challenge paternity and remove child support. A father who wishes to do so must act quickly before the period elapses. If the time limit has been reached and the divorce is finalized, the man will continue to be seen as the father indefinitely.

The limits depend on the states. It is wise to determine how much time you have to appeal before the final judgment.

  • Children Born Before Marriage

In some states, a father is expected to assume paternity when a child is born before the couple has been married. Likewise, a man will have a deadline if he challenges his paternity in court.

Conclusion

You may have had speculation about whether you can legally cease paying child support after you find out a child is not yours.“The needs of the child are most important, and both parents have an obligation to fulfill these needs,” says Attorney Matt Towson of Towson Law Firm.

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