Question: After being divorced for four years I find out that my son is probably not mine.
What should I do?
Answer: First, I am very sorry. This is a horrible situation for any man to go through.
You should contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in Indiana immediately. Although I do not practice in your jurisdiction, Cordell & Cordell has many attorneys licensed and located in Indiana who would be happy to help.
You should discuss why you believe that your son is not your biological child and who you believe is the biological father. In many states, if you were married to the mother at the time the child was born, you are Dad. A genetic test is not needed and the Court could then proceed to order you to support the child. Some states even prohibit genetic testing once a man has been legally determined to be the father.
Since you were married at the time the child was born, there was likely a presumption that you were the father which was solidified with the divorce decree. Some states do allow a genetic test and may extinguish a support order upon the discovery that the child is not your biological child. More so in instances where the biological father has been identified for support purposes. The problem is that this may extinguish your rights to custody and placement as well. Because each state has different laws relating to paternity you should discuss your suspicions with an Indiana attorney.
It is very important that you are careful not to discuss your concerns with your son at this point in time. To him, you are Dad. A genetic test doesn’t have to change that.
Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.