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"Non-biological" fathers rights?


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#1 backwater8

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 07:25 AM

I apologize for using "non-biological" father, I just couldn't think of an appropriate term. 


My boyfriend just found out that the son he raised for 6 years is not biologically his.  He was led to believe that he was the father by his ex-girlfriend.  (They were never married)  His name is on the birth certificate and he has had DNA testing done to confirm that he is not the biological father.  His ex is in the process of removing his name from the birth certificate. 


This is all happening in the state of Florida.


 We were wondering if he has any right to see the boy that he helped raise.  He loves his son and is more than willing to pay child support.  What rights does the child have?  Is there any chance that he could be allowed to see his son?  


Please let me know if you need any other information.  Thank you for your time.


      



#2 pg1067

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 08:42 AM

"He was led to believe that he was the father by his ex-girlfriend."


How could this happen?  Presumably, your boyfriend wouldn't have believed this unless he had engaged in sexual intercourse with the mother sometime within a month or so on either side of the likely date of conception.  However, obviously, there must have been at least one other man with whom she had intercourse during that time.  Therefore, the only possible way to know who the father was would be a DNA test.


"My boyfriend just found out that the son he raised for 6 years is not biologically his. . . .  [H]e has had DNA testing done to confirm that he is not the . . . father."


Just out of curiosity, why did he wait six years to decide to do this?


"We were wondering if he has any right to see the boy that he helped raise."


No, he doesn't (in some states, he could seek visitation, but not in Florida).


"What rights does the child have?"


The child has lots of rights, but he does not have the right to overrule his parents' decisions if they don't want him to see your boyfriend.


"Is there any chance that he could be allowed to see his son?"


The child is not his son.  He can have contact with the child only if either or both of the child's parents are willing to allow it.



#3 backwater8

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 08:59 AM

He didn't know that she had cheated on him.  She didn't tell him that he wasn't the father until the child was 6 years old. 


They were in a long-term, EXCLUSIVE, relationship.  They had been dating for a few years before they found out they were having a baby.  She never told him that there was a chance it wasn't his.  He didn't know that the son he was raising wasn't his until about a year ago.  (They had stopped dating about 2 years ago due to other problems.)



#4 Fallen

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 09:06 AM

You don't bother to say whether there has been movement on the biological father coming into the picture. 

You don't say why he'd want to get a DNA test done if he considers this child his son, regardless of what the mother said.  If the mother went to a family court to petition it to order him to cooperate in a DNA test, that's another matter.

Cannot imagine why he wouldn't be talking with a family law attorney if he's interested in continuing the relationship (assuming the mother is now interested in his cutting ties, regardless of what that will do to the kid).  He's free to talk with several local family law attorneys about whether there's a chance of breaking new legal ground in terms of law in FL (I'll assume other responder knows from whence he-she speaks as to FL law regardless of jurisdiction if the mother objects and that there's no overriding "best interest of the child" angle to pursue here).  He's also free to pester his state legislative representatives about introducing a bill to change the law.

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)


#5 FindLaw_Michelle

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 10:04 AM

Below are a few resources that may be useful in your research.
It would be a good idea to contact a  Family Law attorney (FindLaw Lawyer Directory) to discuss your issue and determine what steps to take in order to get visitation rights to the child.

Good luck.


#6 backwater8

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 02:42 AM

The DNA test was court ordered by the mother.  He has been in a long court battle over this situation.  The judge granted him visitation rights before the DNA test was done.  The judge knew that he might not be the biological father, but the judge was so happy to see a young man who WANTED to be a part of his son's life that he granted visitation immdeiately.   She filed an emergency motion, however, and got his visitation revoked.  Then they went back to court and got the DNA test done.  He got the results and I'm not sure if he has another court date or not coming up.  His lawyer has been really great, but he doesn't see a good end to this and neither do we.  I guess what I was looking for was that small glimmer of hope that there have been other fathers in his situation that have been able to get visitation rights.


As for the biological father stepping in, that's a little more confusing.  She brought her son to meet the biological father but how involved he will be in his son's life I'm not sure about.  She is in another relationship now and she's in the process of trying to get her fiance to adopt her son.  So in total, this little boy has 3 fathers now, the man who raised him, his biological father, and now his mother's fiance. 


My boyfriend was told by his lawyer that he could sue his ex, (for what reason I'm not sure about), but he doesn't want to.  He says it's not going to help him get his son back so why should he bother.


This has been devastating for him and his mother, she's lost the only grandson she has.  This also can't be very easy on his son, I'm sure the poor boy is really confused.  Is there anything that can be done?       



#7 pg1067

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 07:26 AM

I think I already answered this.  Florida had a law allowing grandparents to seek visitation under some circumstances.  However, the Florida Supreme Court held that the law was unconstitutional in the wake of a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court decision, and the Florida Legislature has not enacted a new statute.  Although some states have laws that allow unrelated persons (such as your boyfriend) to seek visitation under some circumstances, Florida does not have and never has had such a law.


Unfortunately, the law does not provide anyone with any remedy for the sort of chicanery that this boy's mother engaged in.  Your boyfriend's best bet is to try and work something out with the child's mother or to lobby the Florida Legislature to enact a law that will help him.






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