Ask A Lawyer: Determining Who Is Daddy

 Question:

My ex-girlfriend got pregnant but said that she did not know if the child was mine. She moved to Illinois with her new fiance and had the child and he signed the birth certificate.

Now the child is a year old and her and her fiance left her, so she wants to get me for child support. Can she still get child support from me or does the guy that signed the birth certificate responsible to pay since he is the legal father?

 

 

Answer:     

First, you must consider having a paternity test.  Right now, you are a putative father, which means it is possible, based on the mother’s allegations, that the court could determine that you are the father. 

A paternity test will determine if you are the biological father.  If you are not, this would be end of it for you.  If you are the father, then the court will have to determine who is obligated to pay child support.  Some states provide that if a man signs the birth certificate and holds himself out as the father, he can be held responsible for paying child support. 

The fact that he signed the birth certificate creates a presumption that he is the father and is therefore obligated to support the child.  However, this presumption can be overcome by proof that someone else is the father.  Still, like you point out, he is the legal father and the court will not easily dismiss the fact that he signed the birth certificate and held the child out as his own.  

 

Claudia J. Weaver is an Associate Attorney with Cordell & Cordell, P.C., in Overland Park, Kansas. Ms. Weaver practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations.

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