I have many questions regarding a different kind of paternity fraud than is usually addressed in forums like this. In this situation, a woman conceived a child 6 years ago in NC and disclosed to her then boyfriend that she had been with him and with one other man. Both knew there was a possibility that the child wasn’t his, but they decided to marry and to raise the child as his, regardless. The other man was never contacted regarding the pregnancy. The child was born during the marriage, and the husband is listed on the birth certificate. Conception, birth, marriage and divorce all occurred in NC. Over a year ago, the mother moved to California with the child and is now re-married.
Also over a year ago, her ex-husband decided to take a home DNA test which showed no biological relationship to the child, by then 4 years old. Shortly thereafter, the mother finally contacted the other man to let him know that he may have a child, but that her ex insists that he is and always will be the child’s daddy. For the sake of the child, the other man has visited with the child in California over about four weekends in 18 months, but the child calls him by his first name and still calls the ex-husband daddy. The child has been told that daddy isn’t the biological father, but obviously after 5 years this is irrelevant to the child. There can be no other daddy in this child’s eyes.
Now, the ex-husband is supposedly contesting his legal paternity of the child. I suspect that he still plans to maintain his role as daddy and that he is only seeking to remove his financial responsibility to the child in the hopes of placing that responsibility on the other man, who has been alienated from the child from the start as a direct result of the willful intention of the ex-husband and the mother to commit paternity fraud 6 years ago. Both have admitted on several occasions that they have known for some time that the child was not biologically his; he even went so far as to admit to the other man that he knew by the time the child was 18 months old that there was no biological relationship, but still he has encouraged this child to know him as daddy through the age of 5.
The other man is of the opinion that the child deserves to keep the legal father as daddy in that a bond was established there that cannot be replaced. He also feels that a man who willfully commits an act of fraud should be held accountable for his actions morally, ethically and financially. This man essentially chose to hijack someone else’s child and to skew the child’s sense of trust at the same time, and now he wants to break his promise to the child for his own financial gain. The other man has visited the child only for the sake of the child’s emotional well-being in adulthood, but has no intention of turning the child’s world upside-down, and he made his wishes known to both the mother and the legal father some time ago.
Under California law, the child is in CA jurisdiction after living there for 6 months, but I’ve also read that NC can claim “continuing jurisdiction” based on the fact that so many related legal events took place in NC. My questions are:
What are the chances that NC will have jurisdiction over a paternity action if one is filed? There are closed support orders in NC at present time against the legal father, so his acknowledgement of paternity is a matter of public record via multiple legal proceedings as I understand it, and I’ve read that he only has one year after learning of “fraud, duress or material mistake of fact” to act in NC. He took the home test well over a year ago, so he’s known conclusively since then. I know that the test isn’t admissible in court for determining paternity, but would it be admissible to show that he did not act within a year of learning about his “material mistake of fact”?
Is there any way for a third party to find out if an action has been filed? I don’t trust the other parties involved considering that they have clearly lied on many occasions to this point and they do not have any regard for anyone but themselves. The other man called the Clerk’s office and they refused to search actions to see if there were any which named him as a party; they simply said he would know if he got served. He would rather be prepared if there is reason to be, but he can’t very well retain an attorney until he knows which state has jurisdiction.
How sympathetic will the court in NC be to the legal father considering that he was not “duped” by any stretch of the imagination?
Since he is likely to lie about his knowledge that the child wasn’t biologically his, will any other parties have the opportunity to submit evidence to the contrary, or will this be a matter of DNA testing alone?
I know that the court defaults to the “best interests of the child” but does that mean emotionally or is it more to do with financial well-being alone?
If the family court will not hear evidence regarding the legal father’s willful deception, is there solid footing for a civil case against him for fraud, parental alienation, emotional distress, etc, if he should succeed in his contention?