Assuming I have read your question and statement correctly, you were married, your wife had a child, you did not know that you were married and do not remember if you signed away your parental rights. Now you want to know if you will have to pay child support.
First, you need an attorney. There are several good attorneys in Memphis that would be able to help you. If the mother and child are not living in Tennessee, then you need to contact an attorney in the State where they are located.
Second, if the child was born during the marriage it is typically presumed to be the husband’s child. However, if you do not think the child is yours, you can take a paternity test to determine whether or you are the biological father. This is where it gets tricky. All states have different law on how to resolve this type of issue so any information that you receive about Tennessee law may be very different from the laws in the State where the mother and child lives.
If you did in fact sign away your parental rights, then you are not legally the child’s father and the state would not require you to pay child support. It is unlikely that you signed away your rights without knowledge but if you did not know you were married then one can’t be certain. It is also unlikely that you would sign away your rights while your wife would retain hers without there being a divorce. Typically, parental rights are transferred to another adult and not simply given up. Basically it is an adoption of the child, at least in part, by another person. My guess is that you did not sign away your rights.
As it stands now you could be required to pay child support. Even if the child is not biologically your child, you may be required to pay support from the time of the birth until you file a petition for divorce and contest paternity. If this seems confusing understand that there are many more issues to consider than what I have covered.
Believe me when I say that the cost of hiring an attorney is much less expensive than 18 years of child support if you are not biologically the father of the child. You need to hire an attorney ASAP. The longer you wait the more you may be required to pay in back child support. Again you will need to hire an attorney in the State where the mother and child are living.
The legal information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Your receipt of the information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a contract for representation by Fetters Law Firm, PLLC. Ryan F. Fetters is licensed to practice law only in the States of Maine, Tennessee & West Virgina.
I'm sorry, your question just doesn't make any sense, and I appreciate my colleague's effort to decipher. If you father a child, then you are liable for child support 1] if you were married to the mother at the time of conception/birth of the child, 2] signed the birth certificate AND/OR 3] you are proved to be the biological father. If the mother hid the child from you or purported that another man was the father, then you may not be liable for back child support, only till the date you had notice that you fathered a child.
If you are the biological parent of a child and you are not the primary custodial parent, yes you have to pay child support. You can sign your rights away if there is another person willing to adopt the child and take your rights as the non-custodial parent. Understand, the child can not go from having two parents to having one. The child has a right to have two parents. It takes the agreement of three capable adults to allow one of them to sign rights away and another to take their place. An example would be baby's momma marries her boyfriend and baby's daddy gives up rights to a willing & adopting new husband. Baby keeps two parents at all times! Generally & 999 times out of 1000, the State will not allow one parent to be released from child support responsibilities just because that parent doesn't want to be a parent.
I am a TN attorney with extensive child support experience! 615 305 4539.
I'm not your attorney and the answer above is fact dependent.