During my marriage my wife gave birth to our fourth child in 2005, which she led me to believe was mine. The baby’s birth certificate bears my name. A month after the baby’s birth my wife abandoned our home and moved across the state. She told me that the baby was not my biological child and showed me a DNA report that seemed to confirm this. She prohibited me from all contact with the baby during our year of separation while letting the man she claims is the baby’s father have full access to the child.
My wife engaged in extreme alienating tactics and would not let me visit with our other 3 children. I pushed for a custody agreement (out of court) but she refused to let me include visitation or child support for the baby in it. She insisted that she would not let me see my other children unless I signed and notarized the following statement:
“Four children were born during the course of my marriage to [wife]. Based upon DNA results presented to me by [wife], I believe that [daughter] is not my biological daughter. I have maintained, for the duration of our separation, my hope that [wife] would be agreeable to me having a father/daughter relationship with [daughter] regardless of biological paternity. However, [wife] strongly disagrees with me on this matter. Therefore, with respect to [wife’s] wishes, I will not seek to take away custody of [daughter] from [wife]. Furthermore, I will allow [wife] to change [daughter’s] last name and will sign the appropriate paperwork.”
I did not state that I was giving up rights to the baby, but acknowledging that I would not try to deprive my wife of custody. Because I could not afford a protracted court fight, this was the only way I felt I could regain access to any of my children again.
My ex-wife says that she had the baby’s name changed to the last name of the man she claims is the biological father, though she has provided me no evidence of this.
Based on me signing the statement above and the probability that the child’s last name has been changed, would these actions have canceled my legal status as the child’s father?
I have been told by different attorneys that the process of delegitimizing a child is difficult and rare. I have been told that in most cases me, the mother and the child’s biological father would have to sign paperwork to change things legally. Is it likely that the information above was/is sufficient to delegitimize the child?
I am trying to find out if I still have parental rights. My ex wife is unwilling to give me a copy of the DNA report or proof of any name change. I had this documentation subpoenaed through our attorneys but she refused to provide it. I suspect she may have engaged in paternity fraud to try to woo her lover into marriage (which he did not do).