Avoiding Legal Trouble

Why You Are Seen As The Father In The Eyes Of The Law

There are two ways that it can be established that you must pay child support. One is where you announce that you are the father of the child. The other is where a paternity test determines that you are the father of the child. However, there are some cases where a father may believe he or she is the father of a child and later discover that this isn't the case after a paternity test. 


Even if you discover who the biological father is, if you legally adopt the child, the biological father's child support obligations are terminated. If you are married to the mother of the child, you are typically presumed to be the father. In some states, the presumption of paternity is irrefutable. However, some states allow you to challenge your paternity within a certain time frame. 


If you are filing for divorce, you will want to contest your paternity before the divorce is finalized. Otherwise, you may be deemed permanently the father. Usually the only way around this is if there is evidence of fraud. Even then, contesting that you are the father can be very difficult.

Stating That You are the Father

When you place your name on your child's birth certificate, the courts are likely to rule that you are the father. If you welcome the child into your home and tell everyone that the child is your child, you will likely be seen as the father by the courts as well and you may find it difficult to contest this. Even when you do not state that you are the father, if you behaved like a father, you are likely to be treated like a father by the courts.

A Paternity Test

Even if you have always disputed that you were the father, a paternity test can show that you are the father and this can then be used as a reason to mandate that you make child support payments. Paternity tests also have a high accuracy, but you may argue that the test was not performed properly. 

If you do not believe that you should be considered the father or owe child support payments after a paternity test shows that you are not the father, you should contact a family law attorney who can help you navigate through these legal challenges. Child support is taken very seriously and missing child support payments can lead to your wages being garnished and incarceration.