I am paying child support arrears for children that are now adults who I have reason to believe are not mine.
I never signed a birth certificate, had a genetic test taken, or was served with a court summons.
If I take a DNA test after years of paying child support showing that these children are not biologically mine, will it hold up in court?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Michigan divorce and paternity laws where I am licensed to practice.
A child has an inherent right to the support of their natural and/or adoptive parents. If there is no biological or adoptive relationship between the individual and the child, then the child is usually not entitled to support from that unrelated individual.
Based upon your question, I am assuming that you were not married to the children’s mother at the time the children were born. If you were, you would have been presumed to have been the father of the children and if the children were determined to be children of the marriage, you would be considered the legal father and be estopped (prohibited) from challenging paternity and support obligations.
Assuming that you were not married to the children’s mother and no Affidavit of Paternity or birth certificate was signed, than the court determines paternity of the child if the mother, or the state, petitions the court for this decision. Typically this is done in conjunction when the mother applies for state aid or requests an Order for Child Support.
During these proceedings, the court will make a determination as to paternity of the child and assess child support. If a party does not respond to the Complaint for Child Support and Paternity the Court may enter an Order of Paternity by default.
In your case, you indicate that you were never served. The issue of service is important, as an individual is entitled to be notified of the pending litigation against him/her.
If you were not served with this complaint, this may be a basis to object to the child support obligation. However, in your case there could be another issue.
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You state that the children are now adults and that you are paying support for these adult children. If you have been paying support for several years, and/or otherwise were aware of this support order – even if the children are not your biological children – you may not be able to challenge the judgment.
Although you were not served with the actions originally, if you were notified of the litigation and/or support obligations subsequent to their entry, and failed to take action to set aside the judgment you may have waived your right to this relief.
If you have been paying this child support obligation for several years, it is not likely the court will agree to set aside the judgment. Where I practice, child support modifications cannot be generally retroactively modified.
That is, any requests for relief or modification of child support are only effective from the date of filing the motion forward. In your case, there is not an active child support obligation being incurred and the payments are, presumably, all child support arrearages.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.
To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Ann Arbor Divorce Lawyer Laura D. Langenburg, contact Cordell & Cordell.