Legal Question in Family Law in California

I just found out my 3 year old son is not mine, but I do still want to see him. He is my ex wife's son. I see him occasionally and pay for his things. They do not know that I am not the father. Should I tell them? or not?

Asked on 12/20/12, 10:35 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

That is not a legal question. It is a personal decision. You are presumed to be his father as a matter of law if he was conceived while you were married and cohabitating, and sexually active. The presumption is supposed to be irrebuttable - meaning even DNA evidence to the contrary can't change it. Many judges will, however, bend over backward to find a way to rule that the presumption doesn't apply if there is another man who is known to be the bio-dad. So you probably have a way out of fatherhood for this child if you want it and want to go to court on it. What you can't do, though, is go half way. Parental rights and parental responsibilities are all or nothing. So you cannot, for example, end child support because he is not yours, but then assert any right to be in his life. So from a legal standpoint you have to decide if you just want to keep this child as your son, pretty much the same as if you had adopted him, or walk away. You do, however, need to decide quickly, because a court is not going to find a way to let you out if you sit on the knowlege for even a pretty short amount of time.

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Answered on 12/20/12, 10:42 am

Anthony Roach Law Office of Anthony A. Roach

I agree with Mr. McCormick. I also note that the issue of legal paternity has probably been decided by the dissolution of marriage proceedings.

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Answered on 12/28/12, 12:25 pm

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