What is required of us if my husband just found out he has a 14 year old child? 20 Answers as of August 18, 2011

My husband just found out that he may be the father of a 14 year old child. We would like some custody rights and would like a say in the child's life. The mother is difficult to deal with and we are not sure what to do. We want to know if we will have to pay back child support once paternity is verified. Can we get visitation if paternity is verified?

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Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C.
Law Office of Karen A. Clark, L.L.C. | Karen A. Clark
If paternity is verified, then your husband will have right to visitation. Both parents have a right to give/have input to how their mutual child(ren) is being raised. Such input might be more difficult given the fact that your husband's child is now a teenager. It might be wise to seek out some type of family counseling and/or the use of some form of alternate dispute resolution. It would be a good idea to discuss your rights and options with an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/18/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
Once paternity is confirmed, a court in Minnesota may, depending on the evidence, reach bak two years for child support. Certainly, after paternity is established, custody and visitation rights may also be established by commencing a custody action that is separate from a child support action. A court will allow visitation based on what it determines to be in the child's best interests.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 7/5/2011
ROWE LAW FIRM
ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
You should be able to get visitation if paternity is verified, but the test in Louisiana is whether or not visitation is in the best interest of the child. It may take awhile for the child to "warm up" to a relationship if you have never been in her life previously. The court may provide for a period of time in which your visitation may be minimal for a period of time in order to work that out. Once you establish a normal relationship with the child there is no reason you may not have joint custody and an expanded or equal physical custody time with the mother. You will have to pay back child support to the time that it was originally requested in a lawsuit, unless there is a good reason for the court not to make it retroactive. If it was not requested in a lawsuit, including any paternity suit, you will only owe from the date it is requested.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 7/1/2011
Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
You may be able to get visitation provided it is in the best interests of the child. Past child support will also be a consideration.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 7/1/2011
Meriwether & Tharp LLC
Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
In Georgia, without a prior Court order, you cannot get back owed child support. On the issue of visitation and custody rights, you may be able to get something, but it is discretionary with the Judge. The Judge has to balance the rights of the father with the best interests of the child.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 6/30/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    You need to start with paternity to be sure that the child is in fact your child. Once paternity is established, child support and visitation can then be established and no you will not be responsible for back support for the years that you did not have knowledge of this child. Contact the office today for a free confidential consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    In Colorado a judge in a paternity case has the discretion to impose child support retroactive to birth. One factor in exercising that discretion will be the fact of your husband never knowing about the child and the court will probably attempt to find out why (e.g., did the mother intentionally avoid telling him, or did she try to find him without success). If paternity is established, your husband clearly has the right to request some parental rights to be involved in the child's life. Given the child's age and the obvious complete lack of any existing relationship, the question of exactly how any parenting rights and time with her are to be determined and what those rights should be will not be easy. If the parents cannot agree, a court will make a decision based on the best interests of the child. That decision will probably involve consideration of the 14 year old wants, but her wishes won't be the controlling factor.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Here is a link you may find useful: http://www.jud.state.ct.us/lawlib/Law/paternity.htm
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    He needs to file a parentage action. Yes he may owe for back support and yeshe can get a parenting plan that ramps up his exposure to the children unless there are special circumstances where that is not in the best interest of the child. Even if he can't pay the back support,that failure has no effect on his parental rights.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    The first thing he should do is request a DNA test be performed. If the DNA test comes back positive, then a paternity action should be filed in order to establish his rights legally as a father, which would include parental responsibility, timesharing and child support. And yes, it is possible that there may be some retroactive child support, but if he didn't know about the child it is possible that this could be mitigated somewhat, and the most it could be retroacted would be 2 years from the date the paternity action or child support action was filed. I would suggest speaking with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible in order to properly protect and assess the father's potential rights and options. My office offers free initial telephone consultations if you would like to discuss this matter in more detail, as well as explore the potential rights and options available.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    In Washington, once paternity is established, your husband is going to have to pay some amount of child support. He will also likely have to pay some back child support. Exactly how much these amounts are likely to be will depend on the exact circumstances of your case. So, without a lot more information I could not venture an estimate as to those amounts. Once paternity is established the court could enter a parenting plan. If the court does this, then, your husband would have some rights to the child. Exactly what those rights would be varies substantially from case to case. There may also be a statute of limitations issue involved in the case. However, I would need much more information to address that. At some point in this process, you are probably going to need to consider hiring an attorney to fully represent your husband.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Your husband needs to file a petition for paternity to be declared the legal/biological father of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    Yes, but probably a progressive visitation. can not expect to jump into someone's life full bore after not being there for 14 years.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    Step number one: find a domestic relations attorney. The cost of support for a 14 year old child until the child turns 18 AND graduates high school could be as much as $30,000. A good domestic attorney can use the courts to verify paternity, negotiate child support and establish maximum visitation.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    Wow, just found out after 14 years! I can only tell you about Connecticut. It is possible child support can go back a short time and it is also possible to get access rights to the child. You would have to go to court on those specific issues to attempt to get the access.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I would recommend that you consult with a family law lawyer in your community about your rights and options in a legitimation action, including seeking visitation and other matters. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law the court can order back support for a limited number of years. You would also be able to ask for the establishment of a parenting plan giving you visitation rights.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    He must pay child support. If he does not he can go to jail. He can seek visitation, etc in court. In Georgia that is a two-step process where he first must legitimize the child. He needs a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    If the mother was on welfare, there may be a need to reimburse some of the welfare payments for the child's support, but not 14 years of payments. If your husband wants to assert rights to custody and/or visitation, he should actively participate in a Paternity (Uniform Parentage Act) case. If he learned of the child only through the support agency case, he will need to file and pursue a Paternity case, seeking custody and visitation rights to his child. I assume that he has taken a DNA test to establish whether or not he is the child's father. If the test results clearly indicate that he is the father, he should waste no time in pursuing his custody/visitation rights in a Paternity case. Since he has not been in the child's life for the first 14 years, the Court would likely issue orders which start with a little time with the child, and subsequent step-ups. Your husband would best be served by retaining an experienced Family Law Attorney, ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/29/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    Your husband is certainly justified in wanting to be a part of his "new" child's life. He will of course have to start paying child support once paternity is established, but not retroactive support if there was never any action filed by or against him. Barring any unusual circumstances, your husband would probably be able to obtain shared legal custody and/or visitation so that he can play an active role in the child's life. Your husband should speak to a family law attorney in much greater detail to determine his best course of action.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/29/2011
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