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How a man can be ordered to pay support for a kid that isn't his

Men across Florida can struggle enormously when it comes to protecting their rights as fathers. Unlike a biological mother's relationship to a child, a father's biological relationship can be called into question minutes or even years after a baby is born.

Because of this, Florida has paternity laws in place that establish and clarify a man's rights, if any, in regard to a child. However, sometimes these laws end up working against men and presumed fathers. 

For instance, a man in another state recently learned that the courts were ordering him to make child support payments for a child he did not father.

The man and the mother of the child were married at one point, but separated roughly 17 years ago. About one year ago, the woman apparently had a child with someone else. However, since the former couple's marriage was never legally terminated, the woman's legal husband was named as the child's father in accordance with the law.

Like Florida, the state in which this occurred has a law dictating that a man married to a woman who has a child is presumed to be the father of any child his wife bears. 

Despite the man's attempt to have the order for support cancelled, he is still on the hook for child support of his estranged wife's child unless and until he can "de-establish paternity," which would terminate his parental rights and obligations. Doing so will take more than a phone call and a paternity test, so he is trying to secure legal counsel in order to fight the order against him and the law that requires it.

Men can face a number of challenges when it comes to their rights as fathers or presumed fathers. Trying to navigate the complicated and frustrating family legal system alone can only make matters more upsetting. But with the help of an attorney, men with questions and concerns about their rights can protect themselves and avoid falling victim to unfortunate situations like the one discussed in this post.

Source: New York Daily News, "Iowa man slapped with child support for a baby that's not his because he never divorced the mother he hasn't seen in 17 years," Laura Built, March 26, 2016

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