You have spent the last few years paying your ex child support for a child you believed was yours. Now, you have found out that the child is someone else's. The question is – shouldn't the actual parent of the child have been paying child support instead of you? Can you get reimbursed for the money you paid? Here is a closer look at your rights.
When Was the DNA Test Completed?
In most states, the DNA test will need to be done within the first couple of years of a child's life, according to Divorce Corp. If the test is carried out later, the man named on the birth certificate or husband in a marriage will be required to pay child support until the child is of legal age.
The test will also need to be reliable, rather than the home tests. However, the home tests can be used to initially get an idea. Women need to name a man when it comes to seeking child support, and it will be up to the man to prove otherwise.
In some cases, the DNA test can be done later. This may be if infidelity has come to light or another man has stepped forward. However, the man named in support paperwork by the mother will usually be the one asked for payments unless able to prove otherwise.
Will You Get Reimbursed?
When you can prove that you are not the biological father, you may be able to get the court ordered support reversed. The problem comes from the payments you've made in the past. There is nothing in state laws that will support or guarantee the reimbursement of funds. This is why some men will delay paying until they get the paperwork reversed or DNA cleared.
It is possible to go through a court case to get reimbursed by the mother. This will take time and could cost you more than you paid. You may want to consider what this will do to the child, who isn't at fault in any of this.
Did You Sign the Birth Certificate?
By signing the birth certificate, you showed that you believe the child is yours. This is a legal document and difficult to get overturned. You will have a legal battle on your hands to do this, especially when it comes to proving that you signed and were deceived by the mother.
The same applies to any other documents that require you to confirm your paternity to a child. If you are in doubt at the time for any reason, the best course of action is prevention.
Chances are you won't be reimbursed your child support payments if you find out you're not the father. In most cases, your only options would be to take the mother to court in an attempt to get the money you paid her for child support back.
For more information, talk with an attorney like Baudler, Maus, Forman, Kritzer & Wagner, LLP.