This is an issue that has been around for ages; men, not even necessarily husbands, being forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in child support, and then, wouldn’t you know, it turns out they aren’t even the biological father. Emotions run high, and many of these men wonder if they will ever see that money come back. And the brutal, honest truth is that no, they will not.

Child support goes to the benefit of the child, and the court does not find that the child should be punished for this mishap. And the word mishap is used quite loosely, as it is very often that mothers will knowingly report the wrong man to be the father of their child (Maury Povich, anyone?), and happily collect the support payments for years. But it is important to note that some mothers are forced to name a father in order to receive state aid, so that they may collect a portion of that aid through child support payments made. And most of the time, when men receive this notice, they do the right thing and start making monthly payments, because why would they assume they are being duped if they can rationalize that they are the father?

However, a new advancement in science is being utilized to ensure that unfortunate common situations, such as unsuspecting men being forced to pay upwards of $20,000 a month to support a child that is not biologically related to them, from happening. A DNA test can be used to obtain a Disestablishment of Paternity, and through the DNA test, if it is established that the child is not the father’s biological child, the father can then file for termination of all support obligations. However, there are several stipulations in place for a man to disestablish paternity:

-There can be no child support owed when the Petition to Disestablish Paternity is filed

-DNA samples are obtained either voluntarily or via court order

-When the child was conceived during the marriage (if they were married), the child cannot have been a product of artificial insemination

-The child cannot have been adopted during the marriage

-The petition must have been submitted within 2 years of the birth of the child, or within two years of the father being notified he may not be the biological father.

So to answer the main question here, yes, there are ways to end child support payments if it turns out that the man making these payments is not the biological father. But it is important to understand the impact that will have on the child, and if, for their sake alone, it is worth making these payments, regardless if you are “blood relatives”. Being a father doesn’t require you to share the same DNA, and if you are happy to be involved in the child’s life as the father figure, you might want to consider holding off on the petition.