Paying child support when not the biological father

Question:divorce lawyer Erin Clark

How do child support laws work when going through a divorce and I am not the biological father of my wife’s child though she gave birth while we were married?

My wife had the child with another man, but our son knows me and considers me to be his dad. Will I pay child support for him?

Answer:

In Texas (where I practice), a man becomes a father if his paternity is presumed.  There are five ways to create a presumption of paternity:

1)  The man is married to the child’s mother, and the child is born during the marriage;

2)  The man was married to the child’s mother, and the child is born within 300 days after the marriage ended;

3)  The man married the child’s mother before the birth of the child in apparent compliance with the law, and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage ended;

4)  The man married the child’s mother after the birth of the child in apparent compliance with the law, he voluntarily asserted his paternity of the child, and (a) the assertion is in a record filed with the BVS, (b) he is voluntarily named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate, or (c) he promised in a record to support the child as his own; or

5)  The man continuously lived in the same household with the child during the first two years of the child’s life, and he represented to others that the child was his own.

If you are not the presumed father of the child, you are not likely liable for child support unless you have adopted the child. In other words, it sounds like you do not have a legal parent-child relationship.

Thus, depending on the specific facts of your case, you may not be under a duty to support your soon-to-be ex-wife’s child.

I recommend seeking further legal advice as the information provided is only general in nature. Cordell & Cordell has attorneys licensed and located nationwide who can provide a more in-depth analysis of your current situation.

To schedule an appointment with Erin E. Clark, an Associate Attorney in the Fort Worth, Texas office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

End of Content Icon

One comment on “Paying child support when not the biological father

    My daughter is 9 and I just found out her biological dad is alive. He had a friend to tell me he died. He and I both were in the military. My ex husband has been her dad since before she was born and when we divorced after 8 years of marriage he was ordered to pay child support. Once I go through the steps to establish paternity from her biological dad will he have to pay back child support and will my ex be off the hook from paying child support for her? I’m in Texas Bexar county.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *