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Found after divorced that my daughter is really not mine. What to do?


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#1 CrazyTimes

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:13 AM

I have been divorced for almost 2 years now. Was married for 17 years, in Ohio. Got stuck with 6 years of alimony. Daugher is over 18 now (I did pay support for a year while my case was ongoing). Since my case was a year long, I'm 1/2 thru paying support since I received credit for a the year I was paying while the case was going on.

My issue is I now have a DNA report that proves my daughter is not mine biologically. The marriage was rough, but I hung in there for her. Had I known then that she was not mine (and that the ex had been cheating on me) I would have ended the marriage at the 2 year mark.

What kind of options do I have here? I would love to get out from under my remaining 3 years of alimony. Then I could actually do something like buy a house.

I have discussed it with my former attorney's office, and the attorney was of the mind that it would be a difficult, and not really worth the money to try. (for perspective, I pay $2600/month for 3 more years) However, I've been very disappointed with that attorney's skills, and getting call backs from that office is next to impossible. I had to call back a month later to find out this info.

Just looking for ideas, I am planning on contacting several other attorneys for opinions to see if this is worth pursuing, or just suck it up and pay my pennance.

#2 Ted_from_Texas

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:01 AM

Your message is somewhat ambiguous as to whether you're paying child support or alimony, or both.

The time to contest paternity is when the child is born, not 18 years later. Different states have different windows of opportunity to contest, but 2 years is typical and I don't know of a state that allows longer than five. That ship has sailed. I'm sorry.

Your child's paternity is irrelevant to the matter of alimony, and there's nothing in your message to indicate you have grounds to modify or terminate your spousal support obligation before the specified time. Again, I'm sorry.

#3 CrazyTimes

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:09 AM

Appreciate the response. What I am paying is only alimony. At the time of my daughters birth, I had no reason to suspect anything. It's only now that I was given a copy of a DNA test the ex-wife had done. I guess it's her way of rubbing it in. I have since spoken to another attorney, and they had the same repsonse as you. Would be difficult to achieve anything. Would entirely depend upon the judge, and he did not recommend spending the money to try. Chock it up to another life lesson about being a nice guy.

Thanks for your help.

#4 FindLaw_Amir

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:26 AM

You may want to visit the Family Law Center as a good resource to learn more about this subject matter.
FindLaw's Legal Heads-Up! newsletter can provide you with the legal resources you need to make informed decisions when law touches aspects of your everyday life.

#5 Fallen

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 02:06 PM

It could have been far worse in terms of duration of alimony and child support. For one, it might have been a case where your daughter was born later in the marriage (and she is your daughter legally and I hope emotionally, if not biologically) and/or your ex a lot older when you divorced. I suggest that you spend the money you would spend on a quite possibly fruitless legal endeavor on counseling.

".. had I known then that she was not mine (and that the ex had been cheating on me) I would have ended the marriage at the 2 year mark.""

I think that's a lot easier to say in hindsight, but then I also think that pondering this isn't productive.

"The marriage was rough, but I hung in there for her."

This is what a lot of folks tell themselves, but in general, I think it's what Dr. Phil would call a "why lie" and not the primary reason someone stays. You effectively say as of year 2 you figured it was worth trouble, torture and angst for another 15 years for ... the kid? Did she benefit from what you're now declaring a loveless and possibly "tough"/horrible situation for all those years or are you saying you and your wife are Lawrence Olivier-level actors and your kid still thinks you had a great marriage right up to when you said "we're getting a divorce, honey"? If she heard you say this, what would her position be? Just sayin'. The "for the kids" explanation rarely makes sense to me, whereas people ought to admit "I'm afraid to be alone" or "start over" or "don't know how I'd make it alone $$$-wise" or "don't want to pay for 1.5 households so might as well stay here").

Certainly, nothing wrong with paying a lawyer to do an in-depth legal analysis and produce a written legal opinion on the topic even if the answer is "no, not worth it in terms of trouble and $$$."

Have you offered your ex a lump-sum settlement to get out from under the next three years, thinking in terms of what someone would give up to get the "cash" in a lotto scenario? (From a practical standpoint, that money is income to her and tax deductible to you, so you each have reasons to run it through a tax calculator to see whether it'd be worth her while and worth yours to offer her $50k to call it "done" and save yourself the likelihood of $93k plus however many tens of thousands on attorneys, years in terms of an appeal (should she lose and fight it, or should you lose and want to fight it).)

"However, I've been very disappointed with that attorney's skills, and getting call backs from that office is next to impossible."

Then, uhm, spend some time scoping out top-level family law litigators and this topic, and make a few appointments. :)

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.  :)


#6 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 11:49 AM

The time to contest paternity is when the child is born, not 18 years later. Different states have different windows of opportunity to contest, but 2 years is typical and I don't know of a state that allows longer than five. That ship has sailed. I'm sorry.


I disagree. There are some states that allow a very long time to challenge paternity. Ohio is one of them. ORC § 3111.05 provides that challenges to a presumption of paternity may be brought any time until 5 years after the child reaches age 18. A husband of the mother at the time of birth is presumed to be the father, but that may be rebutted with clear and convincing evidence, including DNA testing. If the father signed an acknowledgement of paternity or the issue of paternity was previously determined in a court decision, the paternity is not presumed and is instead final and cannot be challenged. You’d need to succeed on the challenge to paternity and then seek to terminate the child support order. See a family law attorney for assistance with this. If you don't like your current attorney, find a new one. You may read the Ohio statutes regarding parentage here: ORC chapter 3111.

#7 miribird6

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 11:18 PM

Was the DNA test initiated by you because of suspicion, or as a formality?




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