The child is not mine. Can I stop paying child support?

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2023 | Child Support |

One of the cardinal responsibilities of any parent is to provide for their child until they can be self-sufficient. And most parents take this responsibility seriously. However, when the marriage ends in a divorce, the court might step in to determine the child’s living arrangement going forward. And this might include how the child will be provided for.  

But what happens if you later discover that the child believed your sired isn’t quite yours? Will the child support order still apply? And are you entitled to a reimbursement for the money you paid in child support prior to this discovery?

The doctrine of the best interests of the child comes into play

When parents who share a child file for divorce, pretty much every judgment therein, including child custody and child support, is founded on the doctrine of the best interests of the child. Thus, it is not uncommon for the court to direct that you continue paying child support even if the child is not biologically yours. This is more likely when the court establishes that your relationship with the child is significant, meaning that the child entirely depends on you for financial and emotional needs. 

What if the child’s biological father can be located?

Sometimes, the child’s real father may be known. In this case, the court may direct that they take a paternity test. If the test positively identifies them as the child’s biological father, then the court may be open to the idea of modifying the existing child support order in your favor. Also, they may be granted parenting time. That said, the court is less likely to order reimbursement for past child support payments. 

Protecting your interests

Child support can be a complicated subject both during and after divorce. Acquainting yourself with Missouri child support laws can help you protect your interests when litigating a child support order.