Raleigh Child Support Attorney Supports Bill Granting Relief From Incorrect Paternity Determinations

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Proposed legislation allows fair resolution to paternity disputes by using genetic test results, says Charles R. Ullman, a Raleigh family law attorney with the law firm of Charles R. Ullman & Associates.

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Charles R. Ullman

This is a fair and reasonable solution to a problem that arises in many child support cases.

Raleigh child support lawyer Charles R. Ullman said today that he endorses a bill that would allow men to obtain relief from making support payments if they can prove they are not a child’s biological father.

House Bill 55, which passed the House and currently is being reviewed by a North Carolina General Assembly Senate committee, would allow the alleged father to use genetic (or DNA) tests to challenge their paternity. If the tests establish the man is not the child’s biological father, child support payments could immediately cease in some situations.

In cases where the mother used fraud, duress or misrepresentation in leading the man to believe he was a child’s father, the court could also order the mother to pay reimbursement of any North Carolina child support payments the man has already paid.

“This is a fair and reasonable solution to a problem that arises in many child support cases,” said Ullman, the founder of Charles R. Ullman & Associates, a Raleigh law firm that concentrates on North Carolina family and domestic law matters.

“Genetic test results can provide reliable evidence that a man is not a child’s biological father, and in most cases, that should relieve him from paying support,” the Raleigh child support attorney said.

“However, keep in mind, this bill would not automatically stop the payment obligation based on the tests. It recognizes situations where a man might continue to be required to provide support for the child.”

The bill would require a man to file either a separate civil action or a motion in a pending child support case within one year after the man knew or reasonably should have known that he was not the child’s biological father.

The court may then order the alleged father, mother and child to undergo genetic tests. The father would have to pay for those tests. If the tests establish the man’s paternity, he may also have to pay the mother’s attorney’s fees if the court finds that he acted in bad faith.

Even if the tests establish that the man is not the child’s father, he may still have to make payments if the court finds that the man previously acknowledged paternity while knowing he wasn’t the real father. This would occur if the man:

  •     Publicly acknowledged the child as his own and supported the child while married to the child’s mother;
  •     Acknowledged paternity in a sworn written statement, or affidavit;
  •     Executed a consent order, voluntary support agreement or any other legal agreement to pay child support as the child’s father; or
  •     Admitted paternity in open court or in a court pleading.

“If this bill became law, a man challenging paternity would still need an experienced North Carolina child support attorney in order to work through many difficult issues that would arise beyond the test results,” Ullman said. “At the same time, a woman may need assistance protecting her continued right to receive child support payments even if the results defeat paternity.

“Overall, I think this bill would provide a fair balance of rights and interests, and I will be interested to see what course it takes in our legislature. As a North Carolina family law attorney, it is crucial for me to stay up to date on these developments in the law.”

About Charles R. Ullman & Associates

The Raleigh law firm of Charles R. Ullman & Associates, located on 109 S. Bloodworth St. in Raleigh, N.C., concentrates on family law, including divorce, child custody, child support, visitation, alimony, post-separation support and equitable distribution. Ullman is also a trained collaborative law attorney. For more information, contact the firm by calling (919) 829-1006 or use its online contact form.

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