I Received a Letter Stating I Owed Child Support for a Child I didn’t Know I had, Am I Responsible for Paying this?

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“I have recently received a letter from a state agency wanting me to pay child support for a child that was born 15 years ago and that I don’t even know if it’s mine. This child has a different man’s name on his birth certificate, was named after the father on the birth certificate, and was raised for several years by this man and the mother of this child. From what I have found out so far, the man listed on the birth certificate had a DNA test done after the child was 3 years old and found out that it was not his child. However, he never had his name removed from the child’s birth certificate. His name is still listed as the father to this day. I’d like to know if this man is still the legal father and therefore responsible to pay the child support and what kind of options I have in fighting this. Thank you for any help you can provide.”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

You can ask for your own DNA test to determine whether or not you are the father. If previous named “father” properly contested paternity, then it is no haven for you that his name is still on the birth certificate. The fact that the state agency is coming after you, leads me to believe that he did properly contest paternity, otherwise they would be seeking support from him.

If he/she is your child, then he/she has a right to support from his/her parents. If one of them is you, then it’s you who may bear responsibility.

The government can go back up to a year prior to the filing to determine an unreimbursed public assistance amount. Otherwise, support cannot be collected for a time period for which there was no court order for support. Support then would be prospective until the child reaches 18 and is graduated from high school.



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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.