I Suspect a Child Isn’t Mine. What Should I Do?
No matter how hard you try to fight them, the doubts are still there. You aren’t sure that a child presented to you as yours actually is yours.
Of course you’re confused, upset, and hurt, wondering whether or not this child you’re caring for is your blood.
What should you do now?
First, Get a Lawyer
If you even have an inkling that a child isn’t yours, whether or not the child has been born yet, speak with an attorney.
An attorney can help guide you through the steps you need to take to determine paternity and go through any potential court proceedings in the future. While you may be hesitant to go to the expense of hiring an attorney, realize that they are your advocate throughout this whole process.
The attorney can help you communicate with your child’s other parent and can help get the paternity testing process moving faster if the other parent refuses.
File for Paternity
Filing for paternity is the first step toward getting this process settled.
The court will compel a paternity test of the child – though this may be at your expense depending on circumstances – so that they can find the true father. This isn’t going to be a quick process, so don’t go in expecting to find out right away and close the book on this chapter.
Take the Paternity Test
Depending on the type of test, you may have to submit saliva or blood to be tested against the child’s DNA to determine if you’re related.
You may have to go into a lab or doctor’s office to get your sample collected, so be sure to cooperate with any requests made of you in the process.
Accept the Results
No matter what you feel before you take a test, there’s a chance that the results you get on whether or not you are the child’s parent aren’t the results you want.
If you are the child’s biological parent, then you will continue through the court process to establish a visitation schedule, child support, and who makes the decisions regarding education, religion, and medical care. This can be a very long process, and one that may be full of emotions and tension. Do your best to keep the child’s best interests first and your ego second.
If the paternity test shows that you are not the child’s biological parent, then you have a decision to make.
You may, if you’ve got a history of caring for and providing for the child, be able to get some form of visitation going forward. For older children with whom you already have an established relationship, you may need to put your hurt feelings aside and continue to care for, love, and raise the child.
In some cases, your contact with the child may cease entirely, whether that’s through your choice or a court’s decision. This may be a relief, or it may be devastating to you.
Find Some Help
Whether or not the results come in the way you were expecting them to, you likely have some lingering thoughts and feelings. It’s best for you, long-term, to find someone who can help you work through these feelings in a healthy, productive way.
A therapist, religious leader, or even a trusted family member or friend can be a listening ear for your difficulties and can help you brainstorm ways to work through your hurt, anger, and confusion.
Don’t stew in your negative feelings. Find the positive – no matter what the result – and move forward with your life.
Compassionate Help for Paternity Cases in Washington, D.C.
Wondering whether or not a child is biologically yours is one of the worst feelings in the world. You need a compassionate, knowledgeable attorney to guide you through the process of determining paternity and taking the next steps forward. At Lopez Law Firm, our team helps you every step of the way, advocating for you the whole time. Schedule your consultation today!