What rights does a man have if he is not a child’s biological father but he is listedon the birth certificate and pays child support?

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What rights does a man have if he is not a child’s biological father but he is listedon the birth certificate and pays child support?

Over 5 years ago my fiancé’s now ex-wife had an affair and got pregnant. He was completely aware that the child was not his. Doing the noble thing to keep his family together, he decided to take on the responsibility of this child legally, financially and emotionally. His name is on the birthday certificate. This is the only man he has ever known as Dad. About a year after the child was born, they split and legally divorced about 2 years ago. Since they have split, she has constantly threatens to take the child away from him. Now she has taken it to the next level – she has contact the biological father and told the kids that my fiancé is not the child’s real father. She is going to go to court and change his name and we will no longer see him. Can she legally do this if his name is on the birth certificate and he has been paying child support? This is breaking my fiancé’s heart.

Asked on May 14, 2011 under Family Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation and for the pain that it is causing not only the Father but the child.  But if the biological Father is going to step up and claim the child as his own there is little if anything you can do. It would have been prudent to terminate the biological Father's rights and adopt the boy when they were still married.  Now it will be next to impossible if the Mother is against it.   I would, however, consult with an attorney about the matter.  Visitation is not guaranteed and may be denied so that the child can form a bond with his biological Father but you never know.  Again, I am sorry and I hope the child is getting some counseling for this all.  That should be something that your fiance should bring up in court.  Good luck.


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