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Opinion

July 18, 2012

Paternity test, copy of birth certificate can be requested

Ask An Attorney

In this week’s installments of “Ask an Attorney” we will discuss paternity testing and tickets for failure to maintain auto insurance. For more detailed answers, you should consult an attorney.

My ex-girlfriend came into the gas station where I work the other day, and told me she had a baby in January of last year. She said it was my baby, which is the first I heard of it since she moved to Louisiana after we broke up five months before the baby was born.

Now she’s asking for child support payments from me. She also says I can sign away my rights to her new boyfriend if I don’t want to pay. She refuses to show me the birth certificate, but says my name is on it. Can I force her to prove the kid is mine? — L.G., Greenville

Yes, you can ask for a paternity test. If she is asking for you to sign over rights, your name may also be on the birth certificate, which you can obtain by calling the Louisiana Department of Health at 877-605-8562.

Since you were not married to your ex-girlfriend at the time of the child’s birth, there is no time limit on testing. If your ex-girlfriend was married to another man at the time of the child’s birth, he may be presumed to be the child’s “father” under Texas or Louisiana law depending on several factors.  This entire situation is drastically complicated by the mix of Texas and Louisiana law, which may affect your rights and obligations.

If the Louisiana court that handles the potential adoption finds that your ex’s current boyfriend would be a suitable parent, it may allow the adoption — assuming it is in the child’s best interest. In both Louisiana and Texas, however, a court may require you to pay back child support even if you are giving up future parental rights.

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