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Can you terminate a child support order if you are not the father?

Marriage is bliss. Love conquers all. Those statements are nice, but they are not entirely true. Even in the happiest of relationships, there are moments of strife, struggle and frustration. The truth is that relationships can be messy, and partners are not always on the same page.

Even where monogamy is concerned, partners don't always give it the same weight. Cheating remains one of the big reasons people break up -- even if you no longer have to prove it in a divorce. What happens if the cheating resulted in the conception of a child and an order for support, for you?

The process of disestablishment

Relationships that involve cheating don't always end immediately. Spouses may try marriage counseling to repair the damage or one partner might not even know about the cheating until months or years later. Maybe they even accepted the role of father because they built a relationship with the child.

Whatever the reasons, a court could issue an order obligating fathers to pay child support for children that are not theirs biologically speaking.

Many people know about the process of establishing paternity, but fewer know of the option to disestablish paternity. Under Florida law, you can disestablish paternity and terminate a child support order.

Although the process exists, it is complicated. You are required to meet certain criteria, such as completing the genetic testing required by law, making sure that all support obligations are current or showing that you did not prevent the biological father from seeing the child.

Know your rights. Understand your obligations.

Even when you show that you meet all of the criteria, a court could deny a petition if:

  • You signed a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity
  • Allowed your name to be written on the birth certificate
  • Failed to comply with court-ordered genetic testing
  • You married the mother and told friends, family or others that you were the father

When you are not the father of a child, your final decision may be to walk away, continue to work on the relationship or accept the child as your own. That decision is yours to make.

The big take away or lesson to be learned from this post is that you should get specific legal advice if you suspect or learn that you are not the father of a child. You want to make sure that you make an informed decisions and avoid mistakes that could be very difficult or impossible to repair in the future.

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