Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Child Support for a Non-Biological Child

Brian F., a Minnesota man, signed an affidavit of paternity in 1995, five months after a baby boy was born.  That child is now 19 years old.  Brian was ordered to pay child support and in 2009, the state removed the boy from his mother’s custody and the state asked for an increase of child support from Brian F. to $369 per month.  In 2011, Brian requested the child support be reduced or terminated.  In these proceedings, a genetic test done in 2012 revealed that Brian F. wasn’t the boy’s biological father.

    In June 2012, the court referee recommended that Brian F. not be held responsible for child support payments since he is not the biological father.  On October 29, 2012, Douglas County Nebraska District Judge Peter Battalion set aside the finding of paternity and terminated child support as of the date of the paternity test, May 31, 2012.

    Earlier this month, the Nebraska Supreme Court found that the district court improperly expanded the scope of the action when it took a modification of child support and turned it into an action challenging paternity.  It also found “because Brian was still legally the father under the paternity decree, the district court further erred when it terminated child support based solely on the finding that Brian was not the biological father of the child.”  The case was reversed to Dougas County to address the modification of child support.

    In California, we also use declarations (affidavits) of paternity.   If someone signs one, there is only a certain period of time to contest it.  If it’s not contested, it becomes conclusive as to paternity.  After that time period, the person signing will be unable to request genetic testing.  Part of the responsibilities of being a legal father to a child is the financial responsibility.  Once someone is determined to be the father, he may be liable for child support.  After a determination of paternity has been made, like with Brian F., that obligation may still exist even if it is discovered that the person is not the biological father.

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