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If I get my paternity revoke or null, I don't have to pay my child support past debt?

New York, NY |

I recently did a DNA test and the kid it's not mine. I'll fill a paternity revoke/null case in NY, NY state. The kid was born in NY, in the marriage placed also at NY, NY. The child was born 13 years ago, and I get divorce 5 years ago. The mother live with the kid in PR since the kid was born and she recently fill a child support case in PR. Now, without be the father and because the PR law, the PR state agency threat me to put me in jail if I don't pay the debt.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Get an attorney in Puerto Rico ASAP to assist you. This will be a case where jurisdiction and the law will be in Puerto Rico. The issue is that if this child was born during your marriage, it is presumed yours unless proven otherwise. However, there is the concept of de facto parent in many US states' laws, and maybe in PR's law, that says that someone acting as the parent or who didn't challenge paternity can still be held to provide support even if the child is not his. Why it took you 13 years to discover this child wasn't yours, or at least 5 years and why it wasn't dealt with at the divorce, may work against you. A critical issue will be how much time you actually lived with and/or financially supported this child. Another issue may be whether she actively hid the truth from you. Lots of complications here. Hire an attorney down there to help you.

    To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state (in WV, on inactive status as of 9/13), I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.


  2. You should not have to pay for someone else's child anywhere. It would be in your best interests to immediately speak with a New York family lawyer as well as an attorney licensed in Puerto Rico.


  3. The fact that you have a paternity test indicating the child is not yours is not dispositive. There is a theory called estoppel, which means that you may be obligated to pay support even for a child that is not yours if you wait too long or have held the child out as your own. If the DNA test is not done through the courts via Court Order, it may not be admissible. In fact, I have had cases where all parties knew the child was not the father's and the Court estopped the husband from contesting custody. Moreover, it is against public policy to order the return of child support to the payor. However, you do have a case of unjust enrichment against the mother, but you will in fact need a Court to take your side and Order a vacatur of support based on the fact that you are not the father. Hire a lawyer immediately, the longer you wait to file this petition, the more likely you will be estopped from contesting paternity, if you are not already.

    The opinion herein does not constitute legal representation in any way or establish an attorney-client relatioship.


  4. Was the divorce & original child support order done in NY? If yes, then unless the DNA was done in the court, then its inadmissible & will most likely not serve to terminate either the order of filiation or the order of support. If everything was done in PR, then you'll need to consult an attorney there.

    * If you found my answer to be "HELPFUL," or the "BEST ANSWER," please feel free to mark it accordingly.

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