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Child Support When The Child Is Not Yours

Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | Jul 15, 2007 | 0 Comments

For many people, conceiving a child is easy, but figuring out who should pay child support for that child can be complicated.  In South Carolina, if a child is born during a marriage, the husband is presumed to be the legal father of that child.  If the wife had an adulterous affair, the husband will need to bring add her lover as a party to the Family Court case so that the lover can be declared the legal father of that child.  Should the husband fail to do so, he could be stuck with all of the financial responsibility for that child, even though it isn't his biological child.

The National Center for Health Statistics reports that more than a third of children born in the United States are born to unwed parents.  The alleged father may (or may not) be the biological father, depending on the mother's sexual activity.  When one of my clients is alleged to be the father of a child, I typically recommend that he have a DNA paternity test conducted to be sure that the child really is his. reports that there has even been a group founded to deal with such issues:  U.S. Citizens Against Paternity Fraud.  Its founder, Carnell Smith, has even proposed mandatory DNA testing upon the birth of a child, because, as he claims, “it's not a crime for someone to lie about which man is the father… [and] the mother doesn't have to return the money and rarely, if ever, is she prosecuted for perjury, for fraud.”

I don't know that I would go as far as Mr. Smith has suggested, but I do believe that every child should have the right to know and have a relationship with his/her parents, as long as those parents act reasonably and responsibly.  What do you think about his proposal?

Source:  “Child Support When It's Not Yours” published at

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J. Benjamin Stevens

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