Hubby’s Daddy If He Says He’s Daddy

When a child is born during marriage, the husband of the mother is presumed to be the father of that child. And if the husband persists in claiming his paternity, no one has standing to dispute that paternity, not even the mother, and not even if she can prove conclusively that he is not the biological father. That’s the holding from the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in the case of Cravens v. Cravens, Case No. 2040004 (Ala. Civ. App. September 9, 2005).

The parties in the case were married in August 2000, and the wife gave birth to the child a couple of months later. In a subsequent divorce proceeding, the mother challenged the husband’s claim to custody by producing DNA evidence that the husband was not the child’s father.

Anybody can do the math and determine that the child was conceived before the marriage, but that’s not what counts. What counts is the Alabama Uniform Parentage Act (AUPA), codified at Ala. Code § 26-17-1 et seq. (“Et seq.” means “and following.”). § 26-17-1(a)(1) says that “A man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if . . . he and the child’s natural mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage . . . ”

It’s already settled that an alleged biological father lacks standing to challenge a child’s paternity if that child’s presumptive father persistently asserts his paternity. Ex parte C.A.P., 683 So. 2d 1010 (Ala. 1996). Ditto the mother in a post-divorce action. Hooten v. Hooten, 754 So. 2d 634 (Ala. Civ. App. 1999). This case now extends that principle and holds that, even in the divorce case itself (that is, even when there has been no prior adjudication involving paternity), “no one, including the mother of the child, has standing to challenge a presumed father’s paternity as long as the presumed father persists in claiming paternity of the child.”

3 comments

  1. ryan says:

    me and my wife are kinda of in the same boat on this subject. except
    for the fact that she is not disputing my paternity
    over our son. he is a child of another man, but we were
    married when it happend. is there any chance that the biological father
    can take custody in the state of virginia

  2. RITA says:

    MY SON GOT WITH A WOMAN AND HAD A CHILD, SHE WAS MARRIED BUT HAD NOT BEEN WITH HER HUSBAND FOR A PERIOD OF FOUR YEARS NO CONTACT. THE WOMAN GOT INTO A NEGLECT MATTER AND HER RIGHTS WERE TERMINATED AND THE COURT RECOGNIZED HER HUSBAND AS THE LEGAL FATHER AND TERMINATED HIS RIGHTS. mY SON FOUND HIM AND HAD HIM TESTIFY THAT HE WAS NOT THE FATHER AND EVEN FILED FOR DIVORCE AND STATED IT IN HIS DIVORCE ORDER THAT HE IS NOT THE FATHER TO MY SONS’ SON. MICHIGAN LAW STATES YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE PRESUMPTION REBUTTED OF THE LEGITIMACY OF THE CHILD BORN DURING A MARRIAGE DEFIENTLY NOT INTACT MARRIAGE. JUDGE STATES HIS JURISDICTION ENDED THE DAY HE TERMINATED THE PARENTS RIGHTS. NOTE JUDGE EVEN HAD A DNA TEST RESULT THAT STATES THE LEGAL FATHER IS NOT THE BIOLOGICAL FATHER AND CHOSE TO DO ANYTHING. WE ARE STILL FIGHTING THE ISSUE ANY SUGGESTIONS WOULD BE HELPFUL.

  3. jl says:

    Dear Rita

    I just saw your comments on your sons situation, and I am wondering if its the same person in Michigan my husbands ex was married to. Apparently, Michigan has lot of situations with Alabama. As to your situation we are involved in the same predicament our judge so far has not ruled out my husbands rights since the cohabitation situation of the law is not withstanding since the natural mother has not resided with the presumptive father in over 6 years. You may want to see about finding out more about the cohabitation ruling in regards to your sons status. if there are any other parties out there who know of what the ruling and statutes are please let me know.

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