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What rights does a man have if he was married to the mother of the child and his name is on the child’s birth certificate, but later finds out the child is not his?

If a child is born to a Husband and Wife during the marriage, the child’s legal parents are the Husband and Wife. This is true regardless of whether the Husband is the biological father of the child. Thus, even if he is not the biological father of the child, the Husband still has rights regarding the child in the event of a divorce.

For example, if the Husband and Wife later were divorced and a parenting plan was put in place that set forth the Husband’s custodial rights as a father, then the father could seek, and potentially be granted, primary custody of the child. If, however, the Parties set forth in their divorce decree that the Husband was not the father and did not set forth any custodial rights,then the ex-husband will not have much legal basis to seek custody. In this situation, I would recommend having a consultation with a local family law attorney.

By Patrick L. Meriwether, Partner, Meriwether & Tharp, LLC

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