It is hard to believe that the law says a husband is the legal father of any children born to his wife during their marriage even if DNA tells a different tale. It can be an absolutely devastating and life-altering experience for anyone to learn they are not the biological father of their child. Unfortunately, this happens more often than you think. There are strict laws in place that protect certain unalienable privacy rights for married persons under the Constitutions of both the United States and the State of Michigan. There are also very strict laws for unmarried fathers that have acknowledged paternity of a child they later find out is not biologically theirs. These laws can mean that regardless of whether you fathered a child or not, you are obligated to provide for them financially until they reach maturity.
Under the 2012 Revocation of Paternity Act there are provisions that provide solutions for fathers that have discovered their legal children are not their biological children. Pursuing a claim under ROPA requires very intricate analysis of specific facts unique to your individual circumstances. There are several requirements that must be met to even be considered a candidate to revoke the paternity of a child. For instance, there are very specific time frames and conditions that must be adhered to for anyone to bring an action under ROPA. It is extremely important to note there are other persons that may qualify under ROPA to try and revoke your paternity against your will including the biological mother and/or the punitive father.
Some of the major conditions that must be met in almost every instance under ROPA are:
1.) An action may only be brought within three (3) years after the minor child was born or within one (1) year after an acknowledgment of paternity has been signed, whichever is later;
2.) DNA testing from a Court approved facility will likely be required to be submitted to the Court; and,
3.) It must be determined by the Court that the Revocation of Paternity must be in the best interest of the minor child. A big question that plagues the minds of many fathers that are dealing with a ROPA issue is, “How do I get all the child support that I have paid back?” This question can not always be answered so simply. Unless it can be proven that the mother of the child engaged in an act of fraud, misconduct, or forced you to sign an acknowledgment of paternity, it is nearly impossible to be returned any monies that you paid in prior child support obligations. If in fact, however, fraud can be proven in your case it is possible to attempt to recover child support payments you have made in the past. This issue is complex and can be complicated by whether the mother is collectable and whether any portion of your child support was forwarded to the State of Michigan for repayment of State Aid collected by the mother on behalf of the child. It is important that all these factors be discussed with your family law attorney to determine if attempting to recollect these funds is feasible in your case.
An in-depth review of your case must be conducted by an experienced family law attorney to determine whether you met the requisite criteria to fall under the ROPA statute and obtain relief from child support obligations, custody orders, and other responsibilities as a legal father. If someone is filing a Revocation of Paternity action against the paternity you have over a minor child, it is essential you meet with your family law attorney to find out whether the Petitioner has standing to bring a case at all.