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Can you pursue compensation for misattributed paternity?

The short answer is yes; you can seek compensation if you supported a child that was not biologically related to you and you were unaware. Misattributed paternity occurs when a father provides support for a child that he is not biologically related to, and he was unaware the child was unrelated to him. Paternity is the establishment of reciprocal legal rights and duties between a father and child. Paternity places the father under an affirmative duty to provide support and care to his child.

The court orders compensation because the support given is not legally voluntary. If you decide to pursue compensation, you are entitled to reimbursement for child support and reversal of any property transfers.

You may wonder with DNA testing, how is misattributed paternity still possible? Most of the time, paternity is not established via DNA testing. In fact, DNA tests are only ordered when paternity is contested, either a parent is trying to prove or disprove a familial relationship. Paternity is presumed or declared by the father.

The law presumes that the husband is the father of any children born during the marriage. Similarly, unmarried fathers may establish their paternity at hospitals immediately following a birth by signing a declaration. Under both of these scenarios, unknown infidelity could play a major part in misattributed paternity.

If you recently discovered that you were assigned paternity incorrectly, then you may want to speak to a lawyer. There is a myriad of legal and emotional issues to consider before you take any legal action. An attorney can guide you through the process to ensure that you make the best possible informed decision.

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