How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dave Kennett Your Own Question
Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience as practicing attorney
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Dave Kennett is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I took my ex to court for a child that she says was mine to

Customer Question

I took my ex to court for a child that she says was mine to be put on the birth certificate, but on the day of the case I asked for a paternity test so the case was delayed for results. I just got results that I am not the father of the baby and now I can dismiss the case. Now she lives in Boston and I live in Orlando, I had to fly up there multiple times, taxis back and forth from airport, I paid to open the case, and for the paternity test. What do I do to try and be reimbursed? Her lawyer asked me if she could send me dissmisal papers but I'm not sure if I should dismiss this before the new hearing on October 27, because I do want to be reimbursed for the money I spent in trying to see a child that wasn't even mine. I have emails that provide my cause to open the case in the first place, and written defamation of character from her.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.

Dear JACUSTOMER - Whenever there is an allegation of paternity either party can request a test. It depends on who wants what. Many times a man will claim he is the father and demand a test just to learn he is not. On the other hand there are times when a woman will claim a man is the father and demand a test only to find he is not. So there is no basis for either party to sue the other for the costs involved and whoever has demanded the test is usually responsible for the costs. I'm not certain why you couldn't have been tested in FL without the need for all the trips but unless you can show that the mother knew for a fact this was not your child and was simply making false claims for some other reason I see no reasonable chance that you will be able to recover your costs relating to the paternity, especially if you were the one who asked for the test.

You could simply have denied paternity which would have forced her to demand the test which could have been done in FL at no or little cost to you.

If you want to sue that is your prerogative but in my opinion I believe there is only a remote chance at any monetary recovery.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I had no cause to say it wasn't mine until a week before the initial court date and the reason why I took her to court is because in the 8 months that she ignored me, she was not letting me talk to her nor see the baby when he was born because for months she made me think he was mine.
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
I understand but in this case it was you who wanted to be certain that the baby was or was not yours. You could have simply ignored the entire situation and never been liable for anything if the mother never filed for paternity. I just cannot see that there is any viable legal action against the mother if it was you who was claiming that you might be the father and then things didn't turn out that way. We do not have any type of "loser pays" system so unless the mother was the one who committed some type of fraud and forced you to come to MA etc. you did all of this by your own choice and therefore she is not liable.
Dave Kennett and 5 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Is telling me I'm the father and ignoring me and telling her family and friends I'm a deadbeat father throughout the pregnancy and even at birth liable enough? I have a response from her lawyer about how I doubted the child being mine 3 weeks (after finding out dates were a bit weird), how I failed to pay child support (when she was ignoring me), that I failed to communicate with her (When we were in contact communication through email until one day she just stopped, and I stopped emailing her after receiving a not friendly call from her father). My family and I were being looked down upon by them and who ever they told and didn't want to talk to us to hear our side. I was convinced he was my son through her whole pregnancy and I had to open a case because she convinced me and everyone that he was mine. So i opened a case to try and claim him as my son because she was ignoring me. Does this sound more like a new case to get my money back? I've spent too much on a child she had me and everyone convinced he was mine. I have emails of every conversation from her telling me I was going to be a father, to the email of a letter I sent to her asking her to please talk to me that I found out she ripped, a month before the child was born.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
She lived in MA so I had to open the case in MA to claim him, I don't mind not getting the money back from opening the case or paying for the pregnancy, what I do want to be paid back for are all the flights and taxis I had to pay for.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I accidently pressed the accepted reply thinking I was replying the above, hope you can still help me with more answers.
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.

If you want to sue her for slander that is your right. You would have to file your suit in MA and then start making more trips back an forth for hearings. If you lose you cannot recover those costs so you will be throwing more money at this case but it is your choice. I cannot predict outcomes of court cases and you very well may prevail but the fact remains that you could have cut your costs by having the test performed in FL or simply ignoring the entire situation and then filing a suit for slander if she kept up the accusations.

All I can do from this website is offer general information as I see it from the facts provided and I cannot give specific legal advice as what to do or not do in a case. The only way for you to find out for certain if you can win is to file your suit and see what happens.

You can ask all the questions you like and do not have to accept more than once. I have customers who follow up after 6 months or more!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
So in opening a new case theres no chance I can be paid for those costs as well?
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
If you win a court case you can recover the court costs which are relatively small. You can't recover the cost of an attorney or travel costs etc. Of course if you win and get damages you would be getting monetary compensation that would far outweigh any court costs so the "cost" issue is really irrelevant if you win. If you lose then you can recover nothing. I am assuming your new case would be for slander and include a claim for damages from the paternity situation.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
So you recommend me going at it alone? I just feel like I took this whole thing a mature high road and even though I lose the responsibility of being a father, I still lost a pretty large penny's worth.
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
Unless you get an attorney to take this on a contingency I would certainly not invest more money into legal fees. if you want to file your own suit that's fine but to just keep spending more of your hard earned money on this seems to me to be a waste.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I asked this at a forums and they said something similar to you but they didn't say anything about filing for slander or anything about making her seem liable.

I think I have the evidence to make her seem liable and win for slander for sure but think it would cover my costs? I think I will go for a consultation with this family lawyer my father wants me to speak with. See what he can do for me but none the less thank you for everything.
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
No problem and thanks for using our service - Dave
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Dave, quick question, I received a few things from her lawyer.
First seems to be a complaint which was

"Please be advised that Ms. Ana Maria Mira Arredondo retained this firm in connection with her claim against you for violation of privacy rights. Based on a review of relevant information given by Ms. Mira and others, the information posted on Facebook and Twitter, we hereby demand that you and your agents, representatives, servants and/or employees immediately cease and desist your disparaging remarks about Ms. Mira. Ms. Mira is fully prepared to enforce all her rights and seek all available remedies under state law and federal laws."

Now I've NEVER mentioned her in a status, never by name or even "she" or anything like that. The only status I put up, which was about the results was the following:

"Test results are in and I am not the father. I want to thank my family and friends for always being there for me since the start. I am coming back to Boston on the 26th if anyone wants to hang out that weekend."

I even deleted someones comment joking about "Maury" to avoid this situation, and I was tagged in a twitter post about a similar joke however i never responded to that. Now thats the thing, others have spoken their own opinions but how can I be held responsible for her own held opinions? The only reason they even are speaking out is because of stuff her and her family told them themselves. And if they try and sue what do you think would happen?
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.

If you are the only one the letter was sent to it is not slander or libel since it would have to have been sent to others. So just the fact that this attorney sent you a letter does not constitute slander. Whether you used her name or not really doesn't matter since the truth is the truth and since you didn't use her name then the lawyer has no case.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Ok sounds good and the letter was specified to me, so it was only sent to me.
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
I see no problem on either side of this one. I assume she lied to the attorney and he sent a letter to you. Since you never violated any laws or made any false statements I see no problem. So long as th lawyer didn't send out letters to others trying to damage your reputation I see nothing wrong with the letter. Hopefully all of this will go away soon for you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Well her lawyer sent me a dismissal paper, which is essentially a new notion to the case that she wants me to sign. I am a bit "iffy" with the way its worded and was looking to get someone to explain what exactly was written to me. Do you mind if I show you?
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
I'm not permitted to represent clients from this website but if you want to send me what it says I'll take a look. I'm not promising I can answer if it means I have to offer any legal advice but I may be able to explain what it is.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
All I need is a better understanding of what this means.

"Stipulation of dismissal

"Pursuant to the provisions of Rule 41 (a) (l) (ii) of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure, all parties in the above action hereby stipulate that the above-entitled action be dismissed against the parties, with prejudice, without costs, waiving all right of appeal."

Now I looked into the Mass. Rules of Civil Procedure and there is a Rule 41 (a) but no (l) or (ii) which at first I found weird.

So that confused me, and the end part about:
"with prejudice, without costs, waiving all right of appeal."
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
I see what you mean and it is probably a typo in the order. In any case, what this means is that the entire case is dismissed with prejudice meaning it cannot be refiled. So there cannot be a new case on the same issue. This basically ends the case. It should have said (a) (1) the way I read it but I'm certain it doesn't matter since it is under Rule 41 and it says what it says.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Oh alright thank you Dave, really appreciate all you've done for me.
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
No problem and thanks for using our service. Let me know if you think of anything else you may need. - Dave

Related Family Law Questions