In most cases, biological parents are ordered to pay child support to help provide for expenses related to raising their children. There is, however, a strange and little known about law regarding child custody and support that could enforce a man to pay child support for a child that is not biologically his. That law, along with its potential implications, makes a strong case for a legal divorce among couples considering only legal separation.
Iowa Man Forced to Pay Support on Estranged Wife’s Child
Estranged from his wife for 16 years, over which he reportedly had no contact of any kind, an Iowa man recently received notice to pay child support on a child that he says is not biologically his. Allegedly, this child was born to his estranged wife and another man. Unfortunately, because the law in Iowa, Illinois, and many other states holds a man as the “legal” father as long as he is married to a woman, the order will stand unless he pursues an order to de-establish paternity.
De-Establishing Paternity a Lengthy and Costly Process
Although paternity can easily be established with a DNA test, the process of de-establishing paternity is not anywhere near as simple. It requires going through the courts, requesting a DNA test, and attorney fees that often far exceed the cost of divorce attorneys. And, all the while, child support may be automatically deducted from earnings. Failure to pay can have even further consequences, including accrued interest and jail time.
Divorce over Separation Can Release You from Obligation
To avoid a circumstance much like the man in Iowa, couples who are planning only to separate should highly reconsider; divorce can release the estranged husband from any custodial and support obligations of any children born after the divorce is finalized. If, however, a non-biological child is born prior to the divorce, de-establishment of paternity would still need to be completed to release the non-biological parent from any legal obligations to the child.
Need Help with Your Divorce or Family Law Case?
Whether you are planning on filing for divorce, need help navigating child custody or child support issues, or require assistance to establish or de-establish paternity, the DuPage County family law attorneys of Mulyk Laho Law, LLC can help. Skilled and experienced, we provide personalized and comprehensive services to fit your legal needs. To learn more, call 630-852-1100 to schedule your free initial consultation today.