First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage?
Let’s face it: in today’s world, people don’t always do things in the “traditional” order. Sometimes, especially in this economy, married people don’t get around to divorce court before they start a new relationship, which can result in a situation where the wife is the mother to a baby, but the husband is not the father. (We actually see this quite a bit here as Memphis divorce lawyers.)
This can create a potential snag in divorce court, even if the husband and wife agree about the children’s paternity. You would think that modern courts would recognize that things are different than they used to be, but the law makes a lot of assumptions that can cause problems if you don’t know exactly what steps to take.
Tennessee law presumes that if the mother of a newborn is married, then the husband is the father of that child. This presumption benefits a lot of divorcing people because it means they do not have to go to the time and expense of a paternity test for every child to prove the husband is the father. It is also usually a correct assumption. Most babies born to married women are fathered by the husband.
However, increasingly, this is not always the case. Sometimes, whether the husband and wife have gone their separate ways without a legal divorce or the wife has had an affair, a child born to the wife might not be the husband’s biological child. Clients have come to our divorce law firm assuming that as long as their spouses agree that the baby is not the husband’s child, the courts will not have a problem.
Unfortunately, Memphis, Tennessee courts just don’t take people’s word for it. There is a presumption that the husband is the father, and in legal speak, that presumption has to be rebutted with evidence by your divorce attorney. In order for the court to issue a binding ruling that the husband is not the father, there must be a DNA test to prove it. The DNA test you get must be official. DNA tests from the internet are usually not going to satisfy the court.
The process is somewhat complicated, but the divorce attorneys of the Ferrell Law Firm can help you navigate the system and obtain a test that satisfies the court, sometimes even at a reduced cost to you.
After you get your DNA test, we can file the results with the court and the court can incorporate the findings into your Final Decree of Divorce. At that point, the Final Decree will serve as a binding ruling that the husband is not the legal father of the child. This means that he will not be required to pay child support and will not have rights, such as visitation, concerning the child. This may also open the door for the biological father of the child to develop a legal relationship with his son or daughter, if the courts feel that is in the child’s best interests.
If you have questions you’d like answered by our team of Memphis divorce attorneys give us a call at 901-754-1340 to schedule a consultation.