What custody right do I have if I am not the biological father but am on the birth certificate? 23 Answers as of August 25, 2012

My name appears on a child's birth certificate; however, I am not the biological father. The child's stepfather wants to adopt him, but it is not in the best interest of the child. The stepfather is abusive to the children in that household. He wants me to have a blood test to prove I am not the biological father so my paternity rights will be taken away. I will not agree to a consent adoption. Can he and the mother take my rights away? I live out of the country but I am trying to immigrate to the USA. I visit my child yearly and I'm willing to contribute to his support.

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Lombardi Law LLC
Lombardi Law LLC | SUZANNE LOMBARDI
In Alaska the mother of the child and the stepfather can file a lawsuit and prove that you are not the biological father of the child.

If you are out of the country and have not contributed to the child's support you may have a difficult argument for remaining the father of the child. An attorney can advise you on the best procedure to take once they have filed suit.

In the meantime if you want to remain the child's "father" it would be advisable to show that you have supported the child. Without knowing the age of the child and any details on if you spent any time raising the child it is difficult to answer your question any further.

Again, an attorney would assist you in your questions about paternity.
Answer Applies to: Alaska
Replied: 8/25/2012
Law Office of Melvin Franke | Melvin Franke
If you are not the father, you have no rights.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/19/2012
Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
They can force you to take a blood test.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/18/2012
Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
If you signed an Affidavit of Parentage at the time of the child's birth, you are the legal father. While it is possible to have you found to not be the father, it will take a court proceeding to do so. If you have been active in the child's life through parenting time and support, you could argue for your rights under the equitable parent doctrine. You would be well advised to seek the advise of an attorney specializing in this area.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/18/2012
Victor Varga | Victor Varga
If neither you nor the step-father are the biological parent, then neither of you really have a say in the matter. It will come down to what the mother wants, and what is in the best interest of the child.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 8/18/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    The short answer is "none." You are not considered the legal father. Even if you were on the birth certificate, if the parents are unmarried, by default, the mother is the custodial parent and the father would have no enforceable parenting rights until they are established by a court. If a man is not married to a child's mother when the child is born, he can become the "legal" father through the "Recognition of Parentage" (ROP) process or by Court Order. However, such an adjudication still bestows no custody or parenting time rights on the father. To get a Court Order establishing paternity and establishing custody or parenting time, the father must commence an action for paternity, or where paternity is established, for custody and parenting time, in the local District Court of the county where the child lives. In the end, the longer a father waits to establish custody and parenting time, the more difficult seeking a reasonable custody resolution and/or parenting schedule may become. If the matter cannot be resolved by agreement, Courts make custody determinations based on what the court believes is in the child's best interests. Most courts do not view 50 -50 custody as a viable option believing that it provides the child with little stability. As a result, in most cases, the court will award primary physical custody to one parent while the other will have a parenting schedule. Often, seeking primary physical custody is advisable to seeking joint physical custody in order to acquire a more favorable resolution by agreement. The court will consider any relevant facts in making a custody determination including 13 specific factors outlined in Minnesota Statutes. Your case should be carefully framed to address each of the relevant statutory factors to be effective.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    Law Office of Rhonda Ellifritz | Rhonda Ellifritz
    I would need more information, but it is possible that if the statutory period has passed, DNA is irrelevant. You should consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    Vargas Law Office LLC | Ronnie Ismael Vargas
    If you are the legally recognized father for that child, regardless of whether you are the biological, you have the rights as father and not the biological father. There is a substantial legal burden that the biological father and mother would need to meet in order to overturn what has been legally established: that you are the legal father of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    You need to hire an attorney, there are no easy answers to the questions you pose and the law is very complicated on these subjects.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    If you have a blood test you will be out of the picture. The mother would have to agree to a step-parent adoption. There could be a blood test to determine the real father but that would have to be pushed by the mother or the county adoption agency.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    Swann-Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC
    Swann-Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC | Elizabeth Swann
    If you were not married at the time of birth and have not been adjudicated to be the father you virtually have no rights regardless your name being on the birth certificate. To be adjudicated the legal father there has to be a paternity action filed during which a DNA test will be preformed.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    John Russo | John Russo
    Too many unknowns in your question. Here in Rhode Island you would be in good shape, your name on the birth certificate this gives a presumption of paternity. The child age is important also you stated that you visit yearly if the child believes you are the father and is at the age to understand that, that also helps. I would not agree to anything and also retain a good Family Law Attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    Law Office of Robert D. Rosanelli
    Law Office of Robert D. Rosanelli | Robert D. Rosanelli
    In Arizona you are the legal father, however, paternity testing may find that you are not the actual father, and your status could change. You may oppose the requested paternity test,however, the court may order one. If so, you must abide by the court order. You may also file to obtain child custody or may file a juvenile dependency petition if you believe that neither parent is fit to care for the child.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Gary A. Russell
    There is a new law in effect in Michigan that applies to your situation. You need to consult with an attorney on the specifics to determine what rights you have under the new law.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    Gorman Law Group, P.C. | Troy T. Gorman
    If you are on the birth certificate, you have the same rights, and obligations, as any other biological father as long as you have acted as such. They cannot force you to take the test, and the results would not change your rights or obligations anyway - this would include paying child support, so be careful what you wish for.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Were you married to the mother during her pregnancy or birth. Have you been ruled the father, have you been paying support and been granted parenting time? You really need an attorney, give him all of the details and get an opinion.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    Marca Tanner Attorney at Law | Marca Tanner
    If you are in Utah (or the child is in Utah), and you are not now nor have you ever been married to the child's mother, you do not have custodial rights to the child, even if you are on the birth certificate. Under Utah law, the mother does not even have to give you notice that the child is being adopted by another man. Particularly if you are not the biological father, you do not have rights in relation to the child at all, under the law. There is a body of law that also applies to stepparent adoptions, however. The stepfather cannot adopt the child until he and the mother have been married, and the child has been living with the father while the two were married, for at least a year. Division of Children and Family Services runs a background check on the stepparent, and there is a full criminal background check as well, prior to court approval being given for the stepparent to adopt a child. If the stepparent is abusive to the children, you could contact DCFS and make a report. That could slow down or stop an adoption of the child, but as far as you being able to do anything else about it, there is nothing under the law.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    Pingelton Law Firm | Dan Pingelton
    You may be able to successfully defend an attack upon your legal parentage. Until you hire an attorney, do not sign anything and do not consent to any paternity test.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    If the mother dispute paternity, she could probably force you to have a paternity test and if you are not the father then unfortunately you do not have any rights to the child. The fact that you are named on the birth certificate is merely a presumption that you are the father, but it can be rebutted by evidence of a DNA test showing that you are not the father.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You could argue that you have presumed father status based on the fact that you have accepted the child as your son.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    Buchholdt Law Offices | Jon M. Buchholdt
    That depends upon your circumstances. But in a custody dispute, the mother can seek a paternity test, and if the test disproves your paternity, you will have no rights.
    Answer Applies to: Alaska
    Replied: 8/18/2012
    T.K. Byrne | Timothy K. Byrne
    What ever rights a court will give you unless the mother of the child says your not the father and wants a DNA test.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/18/2012
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