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Wait, I’m Not The Father

Many parents say the moment that they learned they were going to be parent is pure joy and unforgettable. But those men who are not married, and sometimes men who are married, can wonder about the certainty of paternity and what would happen if they are not the father.

The Iowa Supreme Court recently issued an interesting ruling related to this issue. Like Virginia, Iowa has a firm rule that a father who is court-ordered to pay child support cannot recoup monies paid if it is later learned that he is not the biological father. But the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that a father who provides support without a court order then later learns the child is not his can sue civilly for monies paid, under the theory of fraud.

The point remains, however, that if you are a man who finds that you have been paying court-ordered support for a child that is not biologically yours, it is imperative that you promptly speak with an attorney. You will want to use the assistance of the attorney to terminate the support order as soon as possible, because until the court terminates the order you are still required to pay support for the child.

The larger point to take away from the Iowa ruling is that any potential father should do everything necessary to avoid such situations in the first place. There are simple things that a man can do to avoid paying support for a child that is not biologically his. First, he can request a paternity test. It’s not romantic but it’s practical, reasonable, and much cheaper than having to litigate the issue of wrongly paid support.

Second, the man can actually file a Petition for Support, asking the court to rule on the issue of child support. Even if the man believes he likely is the father, a paternity test will be required unless each parent acknowledges paternity in front of the judge. The child support attorneys at Livesay & Myers would caution any client, male or female, against acknowledging paternity unless he or she is one hundred percent certain the man is the father— because once the acknowledgment is taken, the man has both legal rights and obligations.

In these situations, being wise and taking precautions at the beginning can prevent much anguish down the road, protecting the child and you.