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Disestablishing paternity: A father's right within reason

When two people are getting a divorce and have a child together, it's normal for the primary custodian to receive child support payments from the other parent. In the case that a man and woman are getting a divorce and a man is not sure that a child is his, he may ask for a DNA test to verify paternity before he pays child support to provide for a child he believes may not be his.

In the past, husbands almost always had the right to stay a child's father whether or not the DNA returned a positive match. Today, this is changing. Simply allowing a husband to stay the legal father isn't always the best answer, because that could be hurting the rights of a third party, the child's biological parent. Sometimes, men want to disestablish paternity if they discover they are not the true parent of the child.

Most states do not allow three legal parents, so deciding what to do in these cases is challenging. Men today can disestablish paternity if all three parents agree. If that's not possible, then it's possible to disestablish paternity if done before the child's second birthday.

The evidence you would need to disestablish paternity is DNA. It is the only admissible evidence and must be collected with the consent of all parties or through a court order. If you can do this, then you have a chance to disestablish paternity and eliminate your responsibility to the child by giving up your parental rights. If you would like to pursue this, your attorney may be able to assist you in filing the correct documents with the court.

Source: FindLaw, "The Relationship of Biology to Legal Fatherhood: Two New Cases Show Courts Struggling to Find a Coherent Approach, As Non-Biological Fathers Fight for Their Rights to Children," Joanna Grossman, accessed May 10, 2017

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