Alabama Paternity – It’s the Registry, Stupid

The Alabama Court of Appeals says an unwed father who wants to protect his status as the child’s father needs to register with the Alabama Putative Father Registry, period. In L.C.S. v. J.N.F., Case Nos. 2030567 & 2031028 (Ala. Civ. App. April 15, 2005), L.C.S. was the Mom and J.N.F. was the Dad.

The mother had indicated in pediatric records (but apparently not on the birth certificate) that Dad was the father, and subsequent DNA testing confirmed paternity. However, the maternal grandparents had filed adoption proceedings with Mom’s consent. This litigation was about whether the father had lost his right to contest the adoption proceedings because he didn’t register with the Alabama Putative Father Registry. The litigation proceeded on dual tracks, in probate court on the grandparents’ adoption petition and in juvenile court on Dad’s paternity petition.

The procedural history is long, involved, and largely irrelevant to the family law principle at hand, which is the Appeals Court’s determination that the father could not object to the adoption of the child by the maternal grandparents because he failed to comply with Ala. Code § 26-10C-1(i), which provides that “Any person who claims to be the natural father of a child and fails to file his notice of intent to claim paternity pursuant to subsection (a) prior to or within 30 days of the birth of a child born out of wedlock, shall be deemed to have given an irrevocable implied consent in any adoption proceeding.” Dad eventually filed with the Alabama Putative Fathers Registry, but there was no record of the registration until the child was more than a year old.

32 comments

  1. Krissy says:

    I was sexually assaulted by a guy that a dated in April. I found out that I was pregant, he found out and now he wants to estabilish his paternity. I know i have the option to press charges for rape (He has raped others, they are willing to testify), but I really just want this whole thing over with. For him to leave me and my child alone is the most important thi g to mw right now he is dangerous. My question is, If I am married by the time my child is born and I put my husbands name on the birth certificate can my rapist file for paternity or attempt to take the child away from me? Or is assumed paternity unable to be contested?

  2. Irene says:

    My son’s ex-girlfriend was pregnant. During the pregnancy she broke up with my son. My son maintained
    some contact and was told that his name and the childs name will hve my sons last name. She gave birth last week and we found this out through another family memeber. The baby was given the grandfathers first, middle and
    last name. We have completed, signed and mailed certified the Putative Father Registry Forms.
    During the pregnancy our son proposed to the girl. The girls mother told her she didn’t have to get
    married. The girls mother has documented evidence of bi-polar disorder through a law suit she settled
    with an employer who chose not to keep her employed during her 90 day trial period of employment.
    This woman was hospitalized because her disorder was aggrivated by stress. The girls father is a
    convicted felon for the illegal manufacture, distribution and sale of alcohol. His arrest record is lengthy.
    They live in a mobile home with high grass, trash, dogs and dog fecees everywhere. They have hidden this birth from us in an attempt we think to adopt the baby uncontested.
    Our son attends a community college and works part time. Could we, the other grandparents, along with our son file for custody of this child. At a minimum could our son file to legitimise the baby and or have the baby carry his name with proof of fathering the child? We live a fairly new home and have a stable income and health history. My husband has an assault charge that he was not convicted of whenhe was in his twenties. Our credit reports are clear
    with little debt to income ratio. We have a decent savings although most of it is tied up in retirement funds.
    Please advise or provide some case law and her suggested reading
    Thank You!

  3. Lee Wells says:

    I had been made to believe I was the father of a boy for 13 years. The mother and I were never married, but I paid my share of child support and then some for the entire time. I became suspicious of her early in 2005 and decided to let the courts make the decisions on what I had to pay and DNA testing was ordered and it came back that I wasn’t the father. Does anyone know what my rights are in the state of Alabama dealing with her contesting this after the fact and recovering the over $78,000 I’ve given to her?

  4. Lee Borden says:

    To my knowledge, there’s no mechanism for reimbursing putative fathers for the child support they’ve already paid. My guess (and it’s only a guess) would be that it’s based on the vexing challenge of where the money would come from. Do you require it of the child? The mother? The bio-dad, who may have had no idea he conceived a child?

    It’s hard on you, and you feel used, but I guess society decides to assess the cost to you.

  5. Tommy Pruitt says:

    In 1987 i was living with a girl who got pregnant at the time,In early 1988 i married another lady and had no visitations with the child whom i believe is mine.I only saw my son 4-5 times while he was 1 to 3 yrs old. His mom did not put me a s father on his birth certificate. Since 1991 i have had no contact with his mom nor my son. I have no idea where they are currently living. My question is this; Do i have any rights as the father even tho i was never put on the birth certificate and also how would i go about challenging her to prove he is my real son ?

  6. Lee Borden says:

    First you need to find her. Then your lawyer can serve her with a petition to establish paternity. Just remember that along with those rights will come the duty to pay child support, including back child support.

  7. STOP PATERNITY FRAUD!

    · I married a woman who said she was pregnant with my child. After five years of marriage and the birth of two children we got divorced. I then learned that the eldest child was not biologically mine. The courts at first denied me DNA tests to determine paternity, and when the test was finally done the courts still made me pay child support even though the child was living with the mother and his biological father!

    · Despite forcing me to pay child support, the court refused to let me see or have any contact with the child or my biological son!

    · The mother then abandoned the children and left them with the biological father. Without giving me any notice, the court redirected my child support payments to the child’s biological father. The court forced me to pay child support directly to the biological father!

    · I still had no access to the children, but—having no legal status besides live-in boyfriend—the biological father was given full custody despite having a felony conviction for holding the mother and both children hostage and threatening to kill them!

    · The mother was found to have committed welfare fraud and monies have been returned to the State of Michigan, yet Michigan continues to force me to pay for money that was fraudulently gotten and that it has already been reimbursed for!

    · The State of Michigan has forced me to pay $150.000 for a child that it knew was not biologically mine who was living with his biological father! Michigan CONTINUES to make me pay for this child!

    Help Stop this Perversion of Justice!

    For more information, please visit FixTheFoc or contact me, Doug Richardson, directly at dougmrich@yahoo.com.

    Please also sign the petition to stop the injustice, available at

    http://new.petitiononline.com/FOCHELP/petition.html

  8. Ken says:

    I’ve been married now for ten years. I married my wife because she was pregnant with my daughter. I am now wondering if I am the biological father. If it turns out that she is not my daughter, after all this time, what is my financial obligation to my wife for child support and alimony? If she convinced me that I was the father, and I married her under that assumption, and find out later that it was untrue, then do I still owe her alimony? Child support? ( I’m not trying to get out of child support. I will always take care of my kids even if they don’t carry my dna. I’m just curious. )

  9. Lee Borden says:

    If you’re reconciled to “taking care” of your kids, why would child support be an issue? As you may have heard, the Alabama Uniform Parentage Act is due to take effect 1/1/09. When it does, it will become harder for a father like you to challenge paternity, so you may want to go ahead and talk with your lawyer about litigating the issue now.

  10. James Liddell says:

    I live in Alabama i was married to a woman 2 years we had two boys i had dought about the second child but at the time DNA was not like it is now, when he was born i asked her to take a blood test she would not about five years after the Divorse i had a DNA test done turns out he is not mine, we went to court they said since we were married he is persumed to be mine that i waited to long. She takes the child to see his other family cause she wants him to know theme, this is fraud its the only crime that one person can commit and be proved they commited this crime and make another person pay for it how can anybody look at this and say its right i know they say its for the best interest of the child the father has to do without or work another job,long hours or what ever and the mother still gets the same amount of money the man should only should be made to pay half or something be he suffers the biggest burden for her wrong doing the law is saying a married woman can go out get preganet by someone else and her husband will pay for it if its something i can do about this please let me know Thanks

  11. Lee Borden says:

    Something’s not right. Ask your attorney to review Ala. Code 26-17A-1 with you and to help you think through whether your objection to paternity may have been timely after all.

  12. tony says:

    my girl friend is due in oct 2009 she does not want the baby but I want my child she is threating to leave the state of alabama right now what can i do to keep her here until the baby is born and I get custody order

  13. Lee Borden says:

    My impression is that it’s her call whether she’s in Alabama or some other state, but this is not my area, so you may know something I don’t know about this . . .

  14. Toya says:

    My son’s bio has been running from child support papers for the past 5 years. We recently took a paternity test (not ordered by the courts). Child support will not honor the paternity test and we are scheduled to take another paternity test in July. After which, another date has to be scheduled for child support. He is in the military and will be leaving in June. I applied for an emergency hearing to have the date moved up, but they denied the request. The clerk said that the case would eventually be closed after no activity has taken place on the matter and that I would have to file for the 4th time when he gets back. I made it clear that the military is not very helpful and that It would be very difficult for me to get his duty station information again. I am thinking about withdrawing the paper work for child support because of the matter. Without the father’s name being on the birth certificate, does he have any rights to my son and can my soon to be husband adopt him

  15. Lee Borden says:

    If Dad has had no contact and no support for 12-18 months, you may be able to terminate his parental rights on the grounds of abandonment if you have a new Dad waiting in the wings. Talk to a family lawyer in your area who has experience with adoptions.

  16. Toya says:

    Is ths only possible if there is a NEW Dad waiting in the wings. Or is it possible if I have been providing for my son by myself his entire life. What if the biological is willing to relinquish his rights?

  17. Lee Borden says:

    Same advice. Talk to a lawyer who knows your judge. If I were the judge, I would refuse to bastardize a child, but fortunately for you, I’m not your judge.

  18. Meagan says:

    I became pregnant when i was 17 I am 31 now. The “supposed” father and I married one later and subsequently had another child. We then divorced and I retained physical custody of both children. Our child together lives with her dad now. However my oldest child whom wants nothing to do with her “dad” lives with me. He has decided to sue me for custody of both children. I have known for quite some time that he is not her biological father. If I brought this issue up what are the chances he would still win custody over her?

  19. Meagan says:

    I agree it is cruel and I dont intend on divulging my “secret”. However she wants nothing to do with her dad and he persists on trying to get custody of her. She is thirteen doesnt she she get to decide?

  20. msvehaven says:

    my boyfriend has an ex-girlfriend who got pregnant supposedly by him she put his name on the birth certificate,but she stated to a third party that the boy may not be my boyfriends. The boy is now 8 years old .Is it to late for a DNA test .she is now married to someone else(has been since the boy was around 2 yrs. old)

  21. Edward2004 says:

    Lee,
    I married a woman within a few months after my son was born. I signed at the hospital confirming myself as the childs Father. We were married for several years before I divorced her for very valid reasons. I have joint custody of my son and have never missed any time with him. Unlike the Mother I have been very active in all aspects of the child’s life. I have paid child support every month according to the terms of our divorce. I have also paid for everything that the Mother is supposed to pay for …from after school care, tuition, clothes….if it cosst $1 I pay for it or he doesn’t get it because she just doesn’t care.

    The Mother has a lot of problems that have had a negative impact on the childs life. I am now forced to take her to court to have myself appointed as the primary custodial parent to protect the child and his interests. He is almost seven years old now. She has told me that if I take her to court that she will ask the court to order a paternity test because she claims that the child is not mine and she can prove it by a DNA test. Both me and my son would be devestated by such an event. Would she have any legal standing to ask for this and what would be the courts position on this matter? I am very distraught and conerned. I do not want my child hurt. He is my primary concern in all of this. Thank you.

  22. Lee Borden says:

    If you had been married to Mom when the child was born, you would be the presumptive father and your statement that you’re Daddy would be enough. Because you weren’t, she COULD bring in DNA evidence that you’re not the father. I can’t imagine she would want to do that, but she could if she wanted to.

  23. Edward2004 says:

    Does this not make me the presumed Father? Section 4, 4(B) and 4(c) apply in my case.

    SECTION 26-17-204. PRESUMPTION OF
    PATERNITY.
    (a) A man is presumed to be the father of a child if:
    (1) he and the mother of the child are married
    to each other and the child is born during the marriage;
    25
    (2) he and the mother of the child were
    married to each other and the child is born within 300
    days after the marriage is terminated by death,
    annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce;
    (3) before the birth of the child, he and the
    mother of the child married each other in apparent
    compliance with law, even if the attempted marriage is
    or could be declared invalid, and the child is born during
    the invalid marriage or within 300 days after its
    termination by death, annulment, declaration of
    invalidity, or divorce;
    (4) after the child’s birth, he and the child’s
    mother have married, or attempted to marry, each other
    by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with
    the law although the attempted marriage is or could be
    declared invalid, and
    (A) he has acknowledged his paternity
    of the child in writing, such writing being filed with
    the appropriate court or the Alabama Office of
    Vital Statistics; or
    26
    (B) with his consent, he is named as
    the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate; or
    (C) he is otherwise obligated to support
    the child either under a written voluntary promise
    or by court order.

    So if I am the presumed Father based on the above facts, would the following not apply in my case?

    SECTION 26-17-607. ACTION TO DISPROVE
    PARENTAGE WHEN THERE IS A PRESUMED FATHER.
    (a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b), a
    presumed father may bring an action to disprove paternity at
    any time. If the presumed father persists in his status as the
    legal father of a child, neither the mother nor any other
    individual may maintain an action to disprove paternity.

    If she did this would the courts not protect the childs best interest in preserving or protecting his ties to me as the Father? He is almost seven years old….I do not see how allowing her to do something so cruel would be in the child’s best interest. Could I possibly lose all rights as a Father to my child in this type of scenario? This is so wrong.

    Thank you so much for your help!

  24. Melissa says:

    My boyfriend of 2yrs is still legally married but seperated from his wife since 2001. He is in the process of getting divorced from her now but theres been 1 question no one has been able to really give him about a situation concerning child support . His soon to be ex was married and became pregnant after having an affair with another man. Her husband then started divorce proceedings and wanted custody of the child he thought was his. During the court proceeding she admitted the child was not his and a Dna test was ordered n proved he wasnt the father.so when my boyfriend n her started dating the child was 3months old they ended up getting married and had a child together. Dna test have already been done on both children because after they got married she started using his last name on the other child. When they seperated she put a protection order against him and he was ordered to pay child support on both children. He has never legally adopted the child giving her his name but when the mom filled out all paper work for protection order she used his last name on the child. she knownly gave false information to the court there is no father listed on birth certificate. Throughout these years hes told he court hes not her biological father and requested dna test to be done but was ignored until recently. Her sister actually has had custody of the girl since 2003. But back in Dec.09 the mom decieded she wanted custody back and tried going behind his back without him knowing about it. Courtorder stated children cant change custody without hearing but theyve been living with their mom since while the sister files claim after claim for non payment of cs. When the girls dont even live with her now. Hes not trying to cut the child out of his life but its one thing after another regarding money with them and always trying to have him arrested. Can u please help us in someway.. hasnt let him see either child or any contact but twice in a yr now. No one can tell us if there is a law that states for the parent that knew the child wasnt his to reimburst the other parent for what theyve been made to pay because she lied and gave false information.

  25. Lee Borden says:

    It’s hard for me to understand what you’re saying, but if you’re asking whether the courts will force Mom to repay child support if “Daddy” turns out not to be Daddy, the answer is no.

  26. Melissa says:

    Even though the child was born before they met and she gavr false information to the court for the purpose of collecting child support?

  27. Melissa says:

    Ok one more question… He tried from the beginning to tell courts he wasnt the biological dad n reqested Dna test to prove it but nothing was ever granted because he was doing it by his self without an attorney.. How can they make him pay child support like that?

  28. laquita says:

    Guestion my husband has a 8 yr old son that may be his he does beleave he is his son . The mother did not put my husbands name on the birth cert. Because she claimed they had to be married they were young and my husband didn’t know . She has said all kinds of things as to were she has said he wasn’t my husbands and he was my husbands my husband loves him and just wants his rights like normal . If they came to an agreement for support etc. And he wanted him to have his last name would he be liable to pay back time child support ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *