Non Biological Father Liable for Child Support

Robert Ambrogi in his Law.com Network Blog details the case of a man who learned during his divorce, that he was not the father of a child born during the marriage.   Notwithstanding the fact that he was not the child’s biological father, he was ordered to pay child support.  

. . . .through a DNA test 16 months after his divorce, Richard Parker learned that someone else had fathered the 3-year-old boy. Facing court-ordered child-support payments of $1,200 a month for 15 years, he immediately turned to the courts, claiming fraud by his wife. His case took him all the way to the Florida Supreme Court, which issued its decision in February in Parker v. Parker. Williams tells what happened:

"The Florida justices ruled 7-0 against Richard Parker. The Court ruled Parker must continue to pay $1,200 a month in child support. Parker’s child support payments will total more than $200,000 over 15 years to support another man’s child. Unfortunately, however, Florida has a one-year statute of limitations to prove fraud after a divorce, and Parker didn’t file in time."

So, what would happen if this was a New York case?   The man would be responsible for child support.  A recent line of cases provide that where a “father,” who acknowledged or in any way accepted paternity of a child he later learns was not his, will be equitably estopped from denying paternity for child support purposes.  

While this may lead to unfair cases for the “wronged” father, the underlying policy is intended to protect the psychological and emotional well-being of the child.  Certainly, the child would be devastated if he/she is disavowed by his “parent.”

10 Responses

  1. dee

    i believe that is unfair to the presumed father if he accepted the responsiblilty under false pretenses to make him continue to pay child support. further more it hurts the child because their denied the opportunity knowing their true identity and release the biological father from his responsibilities and you call that justice.

  2. George

    It is all about the money.The government is interested someone to pay-not in who pays…

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  4. John Doe

    Believe it or not, I actually understand the ruling of the court on this one. It doesn’t make it fair to the paying father, but when courts can truly make rulings based on a ‘Best Interest’ standard that lacks the gender bias, then in most cases the courts get it right. However, keep in mind, if the biological mother lost custody to a FIT non-biological father, then the biological mother would have to pay for child support to the non-biological father. That is the Law; It (Law) can be your friend or it can be your enemy. Stay away from Judge Judy and all of that TV garbage. COURT IS SERIOUS BUSINESS, it is not a 30 minute television show.

  5. George

    Dear John Doe, “THE BEST INTEREST” STANDARD is nothing more or less than ENSLAVE the nearest man with wallet.Would you like to give us an example when a bio-mother lost custody…

  6. Duped Dad

    What these states are doing is actually counterproductive. What is the incentive for good men who want to marry and settle down to do so? What is the disincentive for wives and paramours to not have affairs and ruin children’s lives? How does doing so alleviate suffering, provide justice or provide stability to society? Isnt the courts blind and incompetent handling of this just an invitation for vigilante justice? If the wife wants a divorce, custody, changing the child’s name, provides a rotation of new “uncles” and child support from the husband how does the equitable estoppel prevent the child from “illegitimacy” and psychological harm?!. I always thought the courts job was to force compliance to the law and to seek truth and justice.
    What I have seen have been cunning women who have multiple children all from different fathers. They get more child support from three dads for three children than they would from a single dad PLUS no judge is going to split the kids up….so the mom has essentially got a moneymaking franchise. That is what my ex-wife did and I havent seen my child in 8 years and I havent been able to afford to remarry or start a new family since. I hope there is a special place in hell for these judges. In their minds everything is a man’s fault. Women are just victims while men are fools.

  7. T

    What about if the child is aware that she is not the biological child of her ‘Father’? And shouldn’t the biological father, who knows his daughter, and vice versa, be held responsible for the child support? I think this adds insult to injury to the wronged father. I think the mother who was unfaithful, should have to support the child.

  8. Claudine Sada

    If a man was separated from his wife and she gets pregnant after 2 years of separation but the child still will have the husbands name but what document should he get to release him of responsibility?

  9. Shawna

    So when this man who is supporting this child throughout his life buys groceries for the family, does he separate the “not biological” child’s food and make the wife pay separately because the child is hers and not his? What happens if he has bonded with the child for 12 years and the parents divorce? Should he not be granted custody/visitation? I think that the person acting as father should pay child support because he has been doing so for several years and the child will suffer if he is not supported.
    I am a mom and my ex has custody of our child. He remarried and the new wife calls herself “Mom” and tells everyone she is the mother of our child. My ex sued me for child support and I was able to successfully argue that since the new wife is acting as mother, then I should not be made to pay child support. Same concept.

  10. Interesting. do you live in New York?

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