What rights does a father who signed a birth certificate have if hebut just found out he’s not the biological father?

UPDATED: Dec 17, 2011

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What rights does a father who signed a birth certificate have if hebut just found out he’s not the biological father?

As my son got older I have noticed he doesn’t look at all like me. So I had a DNA test done. If it comes back that I’m not the biological father, do I lose my rights as his father? Can his mother have my rights pulled away?

Asked on December 17, 2011 under Family Law, Florida


L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for your question regarding paternity, child custody, and related issues to rights to a child given the recent results of a paternity test.  As with all family law related issues, the laws can change drastically depending on the laws of your state.  To be certain of your rights, it may be helpful to check with a family law attorney in your area that may be able to further assist you.



Generally speaking, when a couple is married, the husband is presumed to be the father of any child born during the time of the marriage.  However, this is a rebuttable presumption, meaning that a paternity test can be done to prove that the husband is not the father, but this test is not common in that circumstance.  In other relationships, there is no presumption of fatherhood, but the state will treat a man as the father if they are listed on the birth certificate, and the state will afford the man certain rights for being listed on the birth certificate.

Some states are stricter than others.  Some states will not allow a woman to easily remove a man’s name from a birth certificate due to the results of a paternity test, especially if that man has been holding himself out to be the father of a child for years and taking on the legal responsibilities of the father for years.  In some cases where the man didn’t want to be the father and paid for a child for 15 years, and then finds out the kid was not biologically his, the state still required that the man continue to pay support until the child reached 18 years of age.


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