Can I be forced into a paternity test and child support by a married woman I had an affair with 9 years ago?

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Can I be forced into a paternity test and child support by a married woman I had an affair with 9 years ago?

Woman who was married at the time never told me possibility of me being father and her husband signed birth certificate at birth. He supposedly never knew of our brief 1 month affair. Now she’s called me out of nowhere 9 years later claiming that I’m the father and wants child support as she and her husband are now going through divorce. I’m not sure if I’m legally obligated in any way by law to take action; she’s threatening legal action if I don’t comply. She has based this on her child’s looks and time frame of her pregnancy stating it has to be me.

Asked on November 6, 2010 under Family Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A man is presumed to be the father of a child if he has been married to the mother for a certain time before the child is born.  However, that presumption may be rebutted by clear and convincing standards of evidence, such as a DNA test.  Therefore, if this woman's husband has been tested and he is shown not to be the father of the child, she can then proceed pursue legal action against the man who could be the father.  What this means is that she can go to court and name you as the putative father.  The court can then order you to take a paternity test. If the results show you are the father you will have to pay child support.  However, there are more questions than answers here.  Did her husband get tested? Why did she wait so long to name you? Could there be other men that could have fathered this child, etc?  Right now you should consult with a family law attorney.  Maybe nothing will come of her threats but you should be prepared just in case.  Additionally, if you are served with legal papers, do not ignore them.  You must answer them in a timely manner or risk an adverse ruling.


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