My wife is pregnant but I'm not sure if it is my child, do I have to pay child support and expenses for hospital bills? 21 Answers as of July 04, 2013

If the judge decides that I do have to pay them, can I get my money back if we do a DNA test and the child is not mine?

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Horizons Law Group, LLC
Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
You would have to take some legal action (divorce, separation, etc) to have the court order a paternity test so that it can be officially recorded that it is not yours. If you wait too long - and establish a bond with the child, the marital presumption can remain even if testing shows you do need to seek legal advice.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 7/14/2011
Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
The Court will not determine parentage without a DNA test (unless by consent). However, if the child is born during the marriage, it is presumed your child; thus, legal action will be necessary to avoid the presumption.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 7/12/2011
ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
Under Louisiana law you are the presumed father, as well as the legal father until a disavowal action is filed and a judgment rendered in your favor. You will be liable for hospital expenses and child support until that occurs. You may be able to recover your expenses from her share of the community property in the case of divorce if you prove that the child was not yours.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 7/12/2011
Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
If you do not believe that it is your child, you should file a Petition for Dissolution and Contest the Paternity of the child. If you are not the father, you will not be required to pay child support.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/12/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
The law presumes that you are the child's father if it is born while you are married to the mother, or within 9 months after any divorce is entered. You will be legally responsible for that child until a court rules that you are not the father. In connection with a divorce proceeding, you will be entitled to request DNA testing to prove that you are not the father in spite of the legal presumption. As a practical matter, DNA testing can't be easily done until after the child is born so you will initially be liable for the birth expenses just as if it were your child - but, if you are later determined not to be the father you could possibly obtain reimbursement. The overall facts (for example, have you and your wife been living separately for an long time) will be considered in deciding how to deal with the fact that you are not the biological father. You should consult an attorney to discuss the various options, but if you intend to seek a divorce there is no reason not to file now so that you can obtain order for the DNA testing as soon as the child is born. If you wait to file, you will simply prolong the testing and potentially increase the expenses you will be responsible for.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 7/12/2011
    Osterman Law LLC
    Osterman Law LLC | Mark D. Osterman
    This question has an unusual ending: Aspouse is always responsible, under the law, for the care of the other spouse. If wife is pregnant with another's child, husband is PRESUMED the parent and the costs of "interment" are presumed to the husband. Sure he can fight it but that is between him and the wife and her lover. Its like any other debt, it is my debt and I cannot give it to someone else unless I sue them for running up my credit card. DNA just decides who is likely to win after the hospital and doctors get paid.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 7/12/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Since she is your wife, you do have to pay the hospital bills (both of you do) but this is a little tricky area - for example, you could sue the father for payment of prenatal care expenses you incurred, assuming he has money to get. My advice, do not sign the financial responsibility notice on the hospital records. This will not absolve you but it is some protection - at least the hospital, if they sue, have to prove you are liable - they can and if you are the father will do this, but if you are not the father, you have a good defense on the matter. If the Court orders you to pay something, you do not get it back if it is later shown false. Sorry for the bad news there, but it is what the law requires at this time. Get a DNA test when the child is born, if it is not yours, file for divorce and deny paternity. That is the best anyone can tell you at this time, until the DNA is done.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/12/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    If, in a divorce, you contest that you are not the father, and DNA testing supports that, then you will not be responsible for any future obligations to that child.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/12/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    Yes, its presumed yours until its determined its not.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/12/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    You are married to your wife and so the law presumes you are the father. In addition since you are married the medical bills will be a "community property debt" just as all other medical expenses are. I believe unfortunately either way you will be on the hook for the medical bills. However, if DNA tests determine you are not the father, then you likely will not responsible for child there is some good news.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/12/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    A child born during a marriage is presumed to be a child of the marriage. if you are in doubt you should get tests as soon as possible so you can rebut that presumption in court. If timely brought, you should be able to request reimbursement from the biological father as part of the support order.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/12/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    A judge won't make any such decision unless there is an action brought concerning the bill. If you do not believe you are the parent, you should refuse to sign the acknowledgement of paternity and the birth certificate and insist on dna testing.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/11/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    The answer to this will depend on whether you are married at the time the child is born.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    As you are married, you are the child's putative father. That means that until proven otherwise, you are dad. Regardless of the state of paternity, you have an obligation to pay your wife's hospital bills if she cannot as long as you are married. Before the birth of the child, you need to take legal steps to insure that the child (if not yours) does not accidentally become your responsibility. The cost of raising a child to age twenty-one is now over $200,000. That can easily become your obligation, as it has so many others. Please seek out local domestic relations counsel now.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/11/2011
    Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law
    Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law | Neville J. Bedford
    Don't sign the birth certificate nor admit the child is yours. Presumption of paternity/fatherhood is rebuttable, most courts will require a DNA test. I am not aware of many court refunding paid support - as there may be an inference drawn of admission of paternity from those very payments. Of course, if this is your child, (most courts frown on the frivolous ordering DNA tests) You will be likely headed for divorce and many years of child support payments. Birth costs are not technically child support. If you can agree to DNA testing, consult with those doctors.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 7/11/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Once the child is born, you may commence an action to disclaim paternity. If the child is not yours, you will not be liable for support. Until that occurs, you are the presumed father under law.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/11/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Legally the child is yours since you are married. The only exception is if you get a lawyer and, in a divorce, disprove paternity.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    The child is presumed to be yours if you ate married and creditors can pursue you for the costs.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Under Georgia law the child is presumed to be yours if it is conceived during wedlock. Unless you divorce and get a DNA test during that process, you would be responsible for the child.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/11/2011
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    All of this is very tricky, legally. There are case precedents (notably Love v. Love) but few lawyers really understand what is involved. A full consultation with qualified family law counsel is strongly advised.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    Law Offices of Lopez, Pyrchalla & Kaufman, LLC
    Law Offices of Lopez, Pyrchalla & Kaufman, LLC | Russell I. Kaufman
    In Illinois there is a presumption that a child born during the marriage is a child of the parties. If there is a pending divorce then you should request a DNA test as soon as the baby is born. Some hospitals can even do the test at the time of birth. Others require you to do the DNA test through the court. If the child is not yours then you should not be responsible for any support.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/11/2011
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