While it might seem absurd to think that a person may be required to pay child support for a child who isn’t biologically theirs, this type of situation happens more often than people imagine. Whether a DNA test was wrong, a child was born to a married couple, or a father genuinely believed that a child was his, the circumstances that put individuals in this position are endless. Although these cases can cause sadness and anger among the parties involved, they also can leave people feeling angry and deceived.
Don’t you have to take a paternity test to sign the birth certificate?
You may be questioning how a person does not know that they are not the biological father of a child or thinking that paternity tests a requirement to sign a birth certificate. However, the answers to these questions can be complex and different for every case. First and foremost, you are not required to take a paternity test to sign a birth certificate. If the mother is not married when the child is born, paternity can be established either through a court proceeding or by both parents signing an Affidavit of Parentage.
An unmarried mother or an unmarried father who have minor children together may file a paternity case
When a child is born to a husband and wife, it is automatically presumed that the husband is the father. In Maryland, paternity establishment is considered important, but if the mother believes that her husband is the “only one possible father of the child,” it is not a requirement. This can lead to a tricky situation down the road when the couple divorces and the father begins paying child support for their child.
Can I submit DNA test results to stop my child support order?
People who are in this type of situation may think that they can simply submit a DNA test result and their child support order will be immediately thrown out. However, this is very unlikely as a DNA test may not be the sole factor to decide whether child support should be paid. Instead, the child’s best interest remains the priority of the court, especially if the child was conceived during a marriage (Mulligan v. Corbett, 428 Md. 670). Therefore, if a child’s best interest is that a presumed father continue to be acknowledged as father and, so, continue making child support payments even though he is not the biological father, he will continue in that role. This happens most often to individuals who have built a relationship with the child and have acted as the father for a certain length of time.
There are some cases where child support can be stopped if a paternity test shows that the individual was not the father, but this depends on how the current child support order was issued in the first place. According to The People’s Law Library of Maryland, the court will only permit a DNA test if they believe that it is in the best interest of the child, meaning that the court has the full ability to decide whether a paternity test matters or not.
Maryland statute that is important when it comes to paternity
Maryland’s family law paternity code § 5-306 is very important when it comes to a paternity case. It states that “unless the court excludes a man as not the father of a child”, that person is the father if any of these key factors are established:
- He was married to the mother of the child when the child was conceived
- He was married to the mother of the child when the child was born
- He was listed as the father of the child on the birth certificate and did not contest paternity
- The mother of the child named him as the father, and they did not contest paternity
- He was adjudicated to be the father of the child
- He has taken on the role of being the father, acknowledged themselves as the father, and the mother agrees that they are the father
- The father took a DNA test that stated he was the child’s biological father
How can a family law attorney help with my case?
Our Rockville family law attorneys know and understand that learning that you are not the biological father of a child you have been supporting can make you feel extremely hopeless and devastated. That is why we are here to help you through every step of the process. Our team is experienced and skilled when it comes to handling all types of child support and paternity issues, and we have the knowledge to help you find a solution as quickly as possible. While the problem may seem complicated, we can help make things uncomplicated for you by remaining by your side, explaining the legal options you have, and fighting for the relief you deserve.
If you decide to legally pursue this situation alone, it may begin to feel impossible. However, with our assistance and guidance, you will have a better chance at receiving the best outcome possible for your case. We take these matters very seriously and will help you take legal action as soon as possible.
If you are involved in any type of paternity dispute, it is important that you take the time to speak to a skilled Rockville family law attorney from McCabe Russell today. Our team focuses on paternity, child custody, and child support cases, and we believe every person has a right to be heard. To begin discussing with one of our family law attorneys, please fill out our contact form. We proudly assist clients in Fulton, Bethesda, Rockville, and Columbia, and we look forward to assisting you too.