A girl claims to be pregnant and says I am the father. It is very possible. She is now 8 months pregnant living at home in another state with her family. What are my responsibilities and what are my rights? I live in Oklahoma and she lives in Kansas. I travel in my work so am away from home often.
I am 90% sure I am the father, but not 100%. If she doesn't get a dna test done I won't be sure. If it is my child I want to help in the support and care, but she wants to keep her own name for the baby and ignores the dna test possibility.
Since the child was born in Kansas and the mother is in Kansas, it's probably safe to assume that jurisdiction is in Kansas and their laws apply. You have the option of having the child listed on the birth certificate with your consent and voluntarily acknowledging Paternity, but be aware that a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity is extremely difficult to revoke after 60 days have passed, so consider waiting until you see what the DNA test says.
In your case, let's talk about establishing paternity via a court order. If the mother will voluntarily submit to genetic testing (which she certainly should), that will establish paternity in a way that is considerably more reliable. Presuming the test comes back and you are conclusively the father, you have every right to file your own Petition for a Decree of Paternity and ask for custody and visitation rights. Of course, a noncustodial parent will be required to pay child support to the Custodial Parent pursuant to the Kansas Child Support Guidelines. To get an idea of what that might be, I've included a link to a Kansas Child Support Calculator:
You could also be ordered to pay your share of the birth-related expenses for the child.
Think twice before you let the prospect of financial responsibility scare you. She can pursue a paternity action at any time until that child reaches 18. So you can ignore the situation and possibly get tagged with a paternity action and 17 years worth of accrued child support in 2026, but then all you have is a tremendous debt for a child you had no part in raising and with whom you have had no relationship. If you take the offensive, you can (a) get the peace of mind of knowing if you are the father and (b) you can petition the court to recognize your rights as a father.
I hope you found this information helpful!
Attorney since 1994, experienced Divorce Attorney, Child's Attorney, Adoption, Guardian ad Litem
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).