Being married to a woman or being in an exclusive sexual relationship with a woman who becomes pregnant leads a man to make a reasonable assumption that he is the father. However, even people in committed relationships sometimes commit acts of infidelity, and when they do, a man may be shocked to learn that he is not the father of who he assumes to be his child. Sometimes, this happens early on – before the baby is born; other times, a man may raise a child as his own for months or years before he discovers he is not the child’s biological father. If you find out that you are not the father of the child, here’s an overview of some steps you may take–
Think About What You Want and Have a Conversation with Your Partner
A man who learns that he is not the father may be so outraged and shocked that he wishes to leave the woman and move on with his life, wanting nothing to do with the child that isn’t his. On the other hand, some couples may choose to forgive the adultery, and some men may even wish to raise a child as their own, especially if they have already been doing so for years. If you find out that you are not the father, think about what you want (talking to a counselor can help) and be prepared to have an honest conversation with your partner.
Be Prepared for the Legal Consequences
If you’re not married and the child is not yours, you are free to leave – there will not be any legal consequences. On the other hand, if you are married, you cannot just walk away from your marriage – you will need to file for divorce. This process will of course include coming to an agreement about different issues in the divorce, such as how property will be divided and whether or not spousal support will be part of the settlement.
If you decide to remain with your partner/spouse and help to raise the child, then you need to be aware of the fact that the child’s biological father may try to establish paternity (which he has the right to do), which may result in visitation rights of the biological father.
Consult with an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Being with a woman and finding out that the child she is carrying is not yours can be shocking and maddening. You may suffer from anger, depression, and a variety of other emotions as a result. Our family law lawyers at the office of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C., strongly recommend that you seek personal counseling/therapy services, and then sit down with a lawyer to discuss your legal options.
Serving Naperville, Wheaton, Downers Grove, Lombard, Lisle, and Aurora, our family law attorneys can help you. Please call us today for a consultation about your options.