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Can you get sued for child support without a paternity test?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2023 | Family Law |

Yes, but you’re probably going to be taking a paternity test if there is a question about whether you are the biological parent.

A woman who claims an unmarried man is the father of her child can sue him for child support. If the alleged father’s paternity is not already legally established, most lawyers would bring a paternity or legitimation action at the same time.

As part of the action, the court can generally order you to take a DNA paternity test, and that is generally what happens. DNA tests are readily available, relatively cheap, and painless – and they are very accurate. The courts virtually always accept the results.

However, legally establishing your paternity doesn’t actually require a DNA test, you may also be able to execute an affidavit of paternity and file it with the Court.. What North Carolina’s paternity statute requires is “clear, cogent and convincing evidence” that the alleged father is the actual father.

What did people do before DNA tests existed?

Before DNA tests, the parties would present other kinds of evidence, and that is still possible to do today. For example, if the alleged father had signed an acknowledgment of paternity in the hospital, that would be strong evidence of his paternity.

There might also be evidence on the other side, such as a more recent revelation that the mother had been unfaithful, or that the child resembles another man.

Each side would present its evidence and arguments, and the court would decide if the mother had presented “clear, cogent and convincing evidence” that the father was whom she claimed. If she had not, the court would rule that the man was not the father.

The same process could be used today although it is unlikely given the other ways that are now used to establish paternity.

In most cases, the DNA results will be clear and will serve as the needed evidence. If paternity is established legally, you and your child will gain important rights. Your child would gain the right to inherit your property, for example. You would generally have the right to make decisions about your child and to share parenting time.

If you believe someone is going to sue you for child support, you could benefit from some good legal advice. Be sure to hire an attorney who cares and will go the extra mile for you.


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