– from Patricia B. in Wauwatosa, WI

 Question Details:

I was three months pregnant when I met the man I would soon marry. He accepted me and the baby completely. I do not know who the baby's natural father is. My husband took care of me while I was pregnant, and even gave the baby his last name. We were married in the hospital before the delivery, and have been together for the last four years. He told me now that we are getting a divorce, he will not pay child support because our son is not really his. He told me to go back to trying to find our son's natural father. After raising him as his own for the last four years, is he responsible for child support?

Family Law Attorney Response:

In many circumstance the answer is no as stated in the video above.

However, if he proclaimed this child to be his and not just to the general public, but to you and the child, there stands a reasonable chance that he could be found liable for child support.

The fact that he gave the child his last name represents the willingness to accept the child as his own by his own consent. In the case of L.M.S. v. S.M.S., 105 Wis. 2d 118, 312 N.W.2d 853 (Ct. App. 1981), the husband was responsible for support based on his acceptance of responsibility for the child. The circumstances were different, but the acceptance of responsibility is similar. A court would take this into consideration as well.

You would need to speak with an experienced family law attorney right away to discuss the details.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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