General Question

Akua's avatar

Can a man be forced to pay child support for a child that's not his in the state of NY?

Asked by Akua (4628 points ) September 22nd, 2010

I was talking with a co-worker who is going thru a bad break-up. She and this guy have been together off and on for a few years and she came into the relationship with a child. Her ex helped raise the child, told everyone it was his child, the child knows no other father and the ex’s name is on the birth certificate as the acknowledged biological father. In the state of NY can she get child support from him? He did not legally ADOPT the child so he is not an adoptive father. He actually went to court and told the judge that he is the child’s REAL father and that he didn’t want a paternity test because he knew the child was his. If I’m correct the father has about 60–90 days to dispute the paternity and after that he is considered the father no matter what. Is this the case? And if she does get support, how long is the child entitled to support if the child is severly disabled for life? I know normally child support lasts until the kid is 18–21 in New York but does that rule apply if the child is disabled?

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17 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

If his name is on the birth certificate, she can attempt to get child support from him. The final decision would be up to the judge that hears the case. Since his name is on the birth certificate, he would also be eligible for visitation if he wanted it (at least until he contests the paternity). If he wants to contest the paternity, he can do so, but he would have to pay for the paternity test (as far as I know). I’m not sure when child support would end for a disabled child. He needs to see a lawyer to discuss his options.

YARNLADY's avatar

If they were married when the child was born, there could be a court ruling that he is the legal father, no matter what the DNA shows. A lawyer will probably be glad to give more accurate advice.

iamthemob's avatar

@Akua

Based on those facts…yes. Fortunately, the doctrine of equitable paternity generally prevents fathers from denying these claims in many situations. As this person went to court and declared that he was the father, he’s equitably estopped from claiming the opposite.

The level and duration of child support will depend on a lot of other factors. I’m not really certain how disability plays into it.

gorillapaws's avatar

@YARNLADY so if I’m married to a woman, she cheats on me and gets pregnant, and then tricks me into thinking the child’s mine, I have to pay for the kid until it’s 18? If that’s true, our paternity laws are seriously fucked up.

I hate dead-beat dads as much as the next person, but there’s got to be some sanity in the process…

iamthemob's avatar

@gorillapaws

So…what you’re saying is that you would prefer the ability to cut the child out of your life, even though you’ve raised the child for x many years, and thought of the child as your own?

This isn’t about what your wife did. It’s about what’s best for the child.

Akua's avatar

@iamthemob
Ok that’s just what I thought. My husband and I did something similar to what my friend did, and I remember reading the back application for paternity and it said something about equitable paternity and estopped. I wasn’t sure what these legal terms mean and thats why I was researching some clarification. They were never legally married but he did go on record in court and on paper that the child is his. Now he is causing my friend a great deal of financial distress and threatening to take her car (it’s in his name), so she told him if he takes her car she will have to replace it with HIS child support payments!

iamthemob's avatar

@YARNLADY

You’re pretty accurate. In New York State, paternity of the husband is assumed for any child born in the marriage from a legal standpoint, even if it was physically impossible for him to be the father of the child.

@gorillapaws

Of course, now that NY is no fault, it’s very possible that if a husband had been tricked in this way, other support mechanisms for her would be reduced. And of course, if you’re awarded full custody in the divorce, you needn’t worry about payments at all.

iamthemob's avatar

@Akua

She needs to talk to a lawyer. That’s it, unfortunately.

JLeslie's avatar

@gorillapaws I wouldnassume many of theblaws were written long ago before paternity testing. The way I understood it while I was growing up, I’m 42, if a couple is married and a child is born, the husband is the legal father. This was probably put into law to protect a man’s right to his children. I have been told, although never researched it, that a long time ago, going back generations, typically in the case of divorce men were typically given custody, because they had the means to financially support the children, and women many times died before their husbands, so this law ensured men were the legal fathers of their children. Now the situation is very different, and laws are changing.

Akua's avatar

@gorillapaws Yes. Once you care for the child and say she is yours, even if you were tricked, you will pay. Laws are different in each state though, but in NY you pay. I even heard one story of a man who never acknowledged the child as his (the child was about 7 when him and the mom got together) but because him and the mother had been together over 5 yrs. and he had been consistent in the childs’ life and helped take care of her, the courts made him pay child support. They look at what in the best interest of the child and not what is fair. You have summed it all up in a nutshell.

gorillapaws's avatar

I just don’t see why the biological father isn’t the one held financially responsible. I certainly don’t think you should be legally obligated to pay for a child you were tricked into believing is yours. It may be the morally right thing to do, but that should be up to the guy to make that choice. What about the asshole who actually is the biological father? It seems like he’s the one that should be on the hook.

The mother should be charged with larceny by trick in such circumstances.

iamthemob's avatar

@gorillapaws

Why should it be up to the man? Why shouldn’t it be up to the child?

If you discovered that your mother had tricked your father – as well as you – into believing that the two of you were biological father and child, would you want the father to be able to back out and say he’s not going to support you anymore? The child here has no choice because children are unable to support themselves legally. Therefore, they have to rely on the parents. The bad choices of the mother do not relieve the father of that responsibility. And if the father could relieve himself of it, the child could end up a ward of the state, and then the TAXPAYER has to deal with it.

Sure, the father got screwed. He also got to raise a child.

I’m not against your idea about the mother. But realize – the state is going to attempt to ensure that the child is provided with a sufficient financial support mechanism to allow such child to develop into a contributing citizen. If you reduce the mother’s income, or throw her in jail, then the father’s going to have to pick up the slack.

The existence of a biological father who is within the reach of the jurisdiction of the court and able to pay for supporting the child is never a guaranty. If such a biodad does exist, he should be responsible for alleviating some of the costs, but not eliminating them.

JLeslie's avatar

@iamthemob I think in the case of a very young child proof of paternity might get a man out of it, out of the financial responsibility, if he had been deceived. The courts would ask the woman to supply names of possible fathers and pursue paternity testing.

krose1223's avatar

Paying child support would be a good thing because then he would get rights. I am pretty sure if he has already acknowledged paternity she can put him on CS, but I think a paternity test would get him off…
I don’t understand why he wouldn’t want to pay child support… If he did all this the I would think he really does feel that’s his child… My husband is not my sons biological father, but there is no doubt in my mind,if something happenend, he would do whatever he had to do to make sure he had rights to him and that he was taken care of. He wants to adopt my son but it is turning out to be a long painful process, and once his name is on that birth certificate he’s not going to take it back. Even if we do split up!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@gorillapaws I don’t get why you immediately think there is trickery involved. The OP’s situation isn’t at all about that.

Akua's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir my point exactly. The point I was making was that the child was already about 6 when he hooked up with mom so he KNEW it wasn’t his. He wanted to be the child’s father then so why should he be allowed to back out and damage a child emotionally and financially just because he and mom aren’t together anymore? We can’t GIVE our kids back just to hurt the mom and we sure as hell can’t decide to take out adult issues on the child. The dads should have thought about all the consequences of claiming a child that is not theirs and a big part of that consideration is “am I going to want to be a responsible dad even if me and the kids mom doesn’t work out?”

krose1223's avatar

Ohhh! I’m sorry, for some reason I was thinking your friend was the guy in this relationship!
edited by me because I only got an hour of sleep and I am just really confused right now…Gonna go make coffee, I’ll try again later

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