Can I get back child support paid if the child is not mine? 16 Answers as of June 22, 2011

If I'm not the father of a child I've been paying child support to for years can I stop and get that money back?

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Seattle Divorce Services
Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
Under Washington law, generally absent unusual circumstances child support cannot be retroactively modified. There may also be issues as to whether it is too late to disestablish yourself as the legal father of the child. Please consult with an attorney in your area as to your specific situation.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/22/2011
Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
I need more information to properly answer this question such as, are you ordered to pay child support? Has the Court determined you are the father (even if you are not the biological father; e.g., the presumed father)?
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/21/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
The answer depends first on how/why/when the current child support order was entered and on the specific state law applicable to that order. The first question you need to discuss with an attorney is why you never denied paternity and whether it is too late to do so now. In all likelihood you won't be able to recover what you have paid, but you might be able to stop future payments.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 6/21/2011
Diefer Law Group, P.C.
Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
This is a very difficult issue. One, why were you ordered to pay in the first place is the child is not yours? You might be stuck with this order if you agreed the child was yours. If you waived your right to a DNA test and have been paying support and now you find out the child is not yours, you could be stuck with the order.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/21/2011
Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
Maybe. It will depend on what court orders there are and what they actually say. There are also time related issues. You are likely to only be able to go back so far in time.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/21/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but not only can you not get back child support, it is likely that you will need to continue to provide child support for the specific child you mention. Somewhere along the line you indicated you were or were adjudged to be the child's father. It may have been a simple as signing your name to the birth certificate. At that moment you became the putative father. Also at that moment, you assumed responsibility for the well-being of the child. Please consult a local domestic relations attorney familiar with child's paternity issues. You should do this soon.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    The unfortunate answer is no. I have handled this case two times now, and in fact there is a law on the Governor's desk right now related to this issue. The current status of the law is that you had an absolute right to challenge paternity and you did not, therefore you are the father and in Texas at this moment (2011) you not only cannot get back the money you paid, you cannot stop paying either if there is a court order declaring you the father. Once the new law is signed, you can at least stop paying future support, but even with the new law you do not get your past paid money back. Now, there is one exception you may be able to try. If you were never declared the father by any court, and you have been paying because she told you you were the father, she has committed fraud. You could sue her for fraud (as long as you have never been to court and declared the father) and seek remuneration through a purely civil suit. It will not be easy and it will not be cheap and last but not least, you have to ask if there is any chance you could actually collect if you win.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    In Georgia, your question depends on a variety of factors and is very fact specific. For example, if you have been active in the child's life in addition to contributing support, the answer would probably be no. Also, if you had an opportunity to take a DNA test, but choose not to, the answer would probably be no. For a more specific answer to your question as it relates to your set of facts, you should consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    This is an extremely complicated question, and can involve questions such as whether you legitimated the child, whether the mother committed fraud in collecting the child support and telling you the child was yours, and why did not get a paternity test when the child was born in order to determine whether you were the father in order to avoid this situation. You need to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney in your area.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Unfortunately, the answer is "no." It is incumbent upon a presumed father to commence an action to disclaim paternity in a timely manner.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    you can get the order terminated; reimbursement may be difficult. You may have a claim against the father.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Bagwell Holt Smith Jones & Crowson, P.A.
    Bagwell Holt Smith Jones & Crowson, P.A. | John G. Miskey IV
    My assessment is probably not, assuming that the mother has needed the money and does not have assets to pay you back. You helped support a child who believed that you were his father and his/her life was made better because of it.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    If there was a fraud, you might be able to get it back from the recipient.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Usually no. If you have already been declared a parent by a court and you made the always bad decision not to check paternity then, you probably waived your chance to challenge it by your choice. Even if a court reopens that issue, you don't usually get a refund. You should pay an attorney now to review the details and see if you have any rights now, but your bad choice in not having counsel years ago (counsel would have told you to get a DNA test) was likely the most costly mistake you'll ever make in your life.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    If you have now determined that you are not the biological father, you can file an Order to Show Cause (OSC) to terminate the support. You will almost certainly not receive a refund. Not because you might not have been defrauded, and you might have a civil action, but because Family Law Court is a court of 'equity' and the Court is concerned about 'the best interests of the child'. On the other hand, could you have taken action to have determined this information earlier? In other words, did you "sleep on your rights"?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/21/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    Possibly, but you would have to prove, via DNA testing, that the child is not yours. If you stipulated to paternity, you may or may not face a Statute of Limitations in your effort to set aside the Stipulation and Judgment. You should schedule a face to face consultation with an experienced Family Law Attorney to discuss and evaluate the specific facts of your situation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/21/2011
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