Legal Question in Family Law in Missouri

Biological father's rights to child he had no knowledge of

What are a biological father's rights to a child (from a one night stand 4 yrs ago) that he was not even aware of until very recently. It was always assumed that husband was father until a dna test proved otherwise. I had the other guy tested when this was discovered, and it was determined that he was in fact the biological father. Husband and I are now getting divorced and I would like to know who has what rights. Husband is the only father child (who is now almost 4) has ever known and we would like to keep it that way to avoid confusion. Biological father does not want to give up rights, but I do not want him in my son's life. What if anything can be done? Does he even have any rights since he has not been involved for the past 4 years?

Asked on 7/10/07, 2:19 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael R. Nack Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law

Re: Biological father's rights to child he had no knowledge of

If you are represented by an attorney in your divorce you should bring all of this to your attorney's attention. Your husband is presumed under the law to be the child's legal father due to the fact that you were married to him at the time the child was born. However, the biological father has the right to obtain a judicial determination of paternity making him the legal father. He would have whatever custody or visitation rights with the child you two would agree on subject to the judge's approval, or, if there is no agreement, then whatever the judge decides. The Judge will also Order child support. If your husband has an attorney, that attorney will probably advise him that he may be Ordered to pay child support for a child that is not his until the child is twenty-two or graduates from college, plus one-half of college costs, plus carrying health insurance on the child and paying one-half of any uncovered medical expenses for the child. It is obviously extremely difficult for both your husband and probably the child as well, but these are the natural consequences of your actions. I have handled several such cases, and I have filed a two count Petiton, one asking the Judge for the Divorce and the other asking the Judge for a Determination of Paternity. In every such case we have obtained an appropriate Court Order. By the way, I believe that you and your husband would be perpetrating a fraud upon the court if you go through a divorce representing your husband to be the father of this child. I would strongly advise you to take the opportunity to do the right thing. Good luck.

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Answered on 7/11/07, 1:23 am

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