What to do When the Father Indicated on a Birth Certificate isn’t the Biological Father

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“My husband and I live in Louisiana. Our marriage is his 2nd marriage. In his 1st marriage, his estranged wife became pregnant during a time when they had been separated on and off. They reunited right before the birth of a second child in 1995. (They already had one child together who was born in 1994.) Within a couple of months, they separated again because the wife said that the second child was for another man. They eventually divorced. The divorce decree states that my husband is not the biological father of the second child, only the first child. He has no contact with and has never supported the second child. The ex-wife married the second child’s alleged father, and he raises this child as his own. (They may be divorced at this point. We are not sure of the current status of their relationship.) However, this man never adopted the child, and when we brought up the subject, the ex-wife objected to him doing so. My question is this: Can my husband do something to have his name removed from the second child’s birth certificate? Can he terminate his parental rights? Also, can issues of inheritance come up with this second child? Any information that you can provide would be extremely helpful. Thank you.”

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You cannot terminate what you do not have. It sounds like he never had parental rights, and the divorce decree says as much. As far as changing the child’s name that takes the consent of both parents. She likely had that name at the time, so gave it to her child. There is no issue of inheritance if the child is not his kin. If he’s so concerned about anything this poor unwanted kid might get when he dies, he should write a will, and make sure to specifically excludes this child.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.

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