This can be an extremely difficult issue to tackle. When a child is born to a married couple, it is assumed to be the husband’s biological child and his name is added to the birth certificate. When a child is born to an unmarried woman, her partner can sign the child’s birth certificate to become the child’s legal father. Legal fatherhood is an important status when working through child support, visitation, and custody issues. This is the status that proves that your child is yours and you are thus entitled to seek custody of and support for him or her.
But what if you later find out that your legal child is not yours biologically? Can you stop paying child support for him or her and suspend your custody agreement? For many paying fathers, another important question looms about this issue: can you get back the money you spent on child support over the years?
You could potentially be required to pay child support for a child that is not biologically yours if the court determines that it would be in the child’s best interest. If you have a significant relationship with the child, meaning that the child is emotionally and financially dependent upon you, you could be required to continue to support him or her.
Whether the child’s biological father is in the picture could play a role in determining whether you are required to continue to make child support payments. If you are the only father the child knows, you may be required to support the child, especially if you are his or her legal father. You can deny your paternity through an Affidavit of Denial of Paternity form. You could be required by the court to complete a DNA test to prove that you are not the child’s father. After proving you are not the child’s biological father, you can seek a modification to your child support order to diminish or eliminate it.
Unfortunately, you are most likely not going to be able to recover the money you have already paid in child support, especially if you have a strong relationship with the child.
If you are paying child support for a child that is not biologically yours and you want to stop, you need to work with an experienced family attorney to determine all of your options. Be proactive and call The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. at (732) 365-3299 right away. Our firm proudly serves parents and families throughout Ocean, Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties.