Duped Dads

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on Legal Aid for Duped Dads.

Legal Aid for Duped Dads


A three-step plan for protecting your name and your financial interests

So you've had the paternal wool pulled over your eyes, and now you want out--of the relationship with your partner and her child. First, make sure this is really what you want and you aren't just acting out of anger, justified as it may be. If you're set on severing all ties, hire a family-law attorney. (Go to abanet.org/lawyer locator/searchlawyer.html and click on "Location/Area of Practice.") Then follow these court-tested tips for taking back your life.

Step 1. Check the birth certificate. Every state has its own window of time during which a married man can dispute paternity. For example, in North Dakota it's 1 year from the signing of the birth certificate, while in Tennessee it's 5 years. (The exception: If the child is born out of wedlock, men usually get just 60 days.) See chart below, for the law in your state. If you're within the time frame, your lawyer will want to file an affidavit that includes paternity-test results. Time expired? Read on.

Step 2. File for divorce. Untying the knot gives you a legal opening to dispute paternity, even when state law says you missed the deadline. The catch is that now an affidavit and test results aren't enough--you need to sue for fraud. "If she's found to have committed fraud, the verdict can relieve you of custody payments," says attorney Michelle Kelly, a paternity expert in Michigan. Caution: You can win the suit and still be ordered to pay child support if your soon-to-be-ex isn't financially stable. In that case, go to Step 3.

Step 3. Identify the real dad. Now's your chance to make the jerk pay. (Editor's note: He may not be a jerk. He might not even have been told that (1) She was pregnant and/or (2) about the birth of the child.) "The real biological dad could be forced to pay support, but only if he is named," says Kelly, adding that it's often difficult to ID the guy. Hire a private detective, specifically a "certified legal investigator"; they specialize in gathering information for court cases.

STATE/UNMARRIED MEN/MARRIED MEN

State

Single Men
Unsingle Men

Alabama

No time limit

No time limit

Alaska

60 days after signing an acknowledge of paternity

Final once birth certificate is signed

Arizona

60 days Final once birth certificate is signed

No time limit

Arkansas

No time limit

No time limit

California

2 years from birth; court can still deny if not in child's best interest

2 years from birth; court can still deny if not in child's best interest

Colorado

No time limit

5 years

Connecticut

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

Delaware

2 years

2 years

Florida

60 days

No time limit

Georgia

No time limit

No time limit

Hawaii

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

Idaho

2 years

2 years

Illinois

60 days

2 years

Indiana

60 days

No time limit

Iowa

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

Kansas

60 days

1 year

Kentucky

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

Louisiana

60 days

1 year

Maine

60 days

No time limit

Maryland

60 days

No time limit (fraud only--you must prove your wife knew that you weren't the child's father)

Massachusetts

60 days

1 year

Michigan

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

Minnesota

1 year

3 years

Mississippi

60 days

No time limit

Missouri

60 days

1 year

Montana

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

Nebraska

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

Nevada

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

New Hampshire

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

New Jersey

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

New Mexico

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

New York

Final once paternity is established

Final once birth certificate is signed

North Carolina

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

North Dakota

1 year

2 years

Ohio

No time limit

No time limit

Oklahoma

60 days

2 years

Oregon

1 year

Final once birth certificate is signed

Pennsylvania

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

Rhode Island

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

South Carolina

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

South Dakota

60 days

3 years

Tennessee

60 days

5 years; no time limit to prove fraud

Texas

60 days

4 years

Utah

60 days

4 years; no time limit to prove fraud

Vermont

60 days

Final once birth certificate is signed

Virginia

No time limit

No time limit

Washington

2 years

2 years

West Virginia

60 days

No time limit; court can still deny if not in the child's best interest

Wisconsin

60 days

No time limit

Wyoming

2 years

5 years

Source: By: David Schipper, www.menshealth.com/cda/article.do?site=MensHealth&channel=guy.wisdom&category=family.guy&conitem=4a096f83c9821110VgnVCM10000013281eac____

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