Question: I just found out that my 16-year-old son is not my biological son through DNA testing I had done. Now that I am aware of this fraud, I realize his mother has been extorting tens of thousands of dollars from me for over a decade and she continually wants more from me.
I will be presenting her with the results soon and wonder what legal recourse I have with her fraudulent activity? We all live in Michigan now, but the child was born in Georgia. Will this depend on Michigan law or Georgia law and/or would I have an opportunity for a civil suit against her or my son’s actual biological father?
Because you, your ex-wife and your son live in Michigan, Michigan law will most likely apply. I am a Michigan attorney for Cordell & Cordell, P.C., but I can only give you general information because I do not have your complete file or all of the facts of your case for review.
That being said, if Michigan law were to apply to your case, it is very unlikely you could recover the child support you already paid. If you are paying under a child support order, the standard in Michigan for retroactively modifying the order is narrow: you can only retroactively modify to the date you filed a motion to modify the order – not to the date of your son’s birth. Moreover, you may be deemed an equitable father who is nonetheless liable for support. The “equitable parent” doctrine arose out of a case in Michigan which a child was conceived and born during a marriage; the husband and the child acknowledged a relationship as father and child (although the husband was not the biological father); and when the parties divorced, the husband desired the rights of paternity and was willing to pay child support. In effect, this doctrine allows a third party to exercise the rights of a biological parent, including custody rights and child support rights (or duties to pay support).
Keep in mind, you should not rely on this information as establishing an attorney-client relationship. Please contact an attorney for a thorough discussion of your case and for legal representation if you wish to pursue it. Thank you for submitting a question to Cordell & Cordell, P.C.
Jennifer M. Paine is an Associate Attorney in the Detroit, Michigan office of Cordell & Cordell P.C. She is licensed to practice in Michigan, and has been admitted pro hac vice in Illinois, Ohio, and the United States Court of Federal Claims. Ms. Paine received her BA in English and Mathematics from Albion College and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received her Juris Doctorate from MSU College of Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude.