When a couple has a baby and gets married, most people just assume the husband is also the father of the child. In some cases, finding out about the pregnancy is even a driving force between why two people get married. This same paternity assumption also goes on if the couple separates or divorces and can play a role in determining things like child support and child custody.
However, as one recent family law case highlighted, just because a couple was married and the husband was told by the wife that he is the child’s father, it does not necessarily mean the he really is the biological father.
When looking at what happened, it was back in 1991 when a couple married. Prior, the woman said she was pregnant and that no one else could be the father. Ten years after getting married, the two divorced. The ex-husband started paying child support and in 2005 took on the responsibility of being the custodial parent.
But, even though he had custody of the child, the man started to question if he was really the father of the boy. In 2007 a DNA paternity test confirmed his suspicions. He was not the boy’s father.
In this case, which took place in Tennessee, the father filed a lawsuit against the mother of the child for intentionally misrepresenting who the true identity of the father was. The Supreme Court ended up ruling in his favor and the mother was ordered to repay him $25,000 in child support, insurance premiums and medical expenses.
When looking at this case, of course this entire experience was probably rather traumatic for the man who was lied to about being a father. But, for the average Missouri man it does teach a valuable lesson on making sure to establish paternity as soon as there are any doubts.
Source: The Leaf Chronicle, “Tenn. court rules for man misled about paternity,” Oct. 2, 2012
- Our firm handles cases where paternity is called in to question. To learn more, please visit our St. Louis paternity issues page.