Advice from someone who has been in your shoes
  Search entire web
Supervised Visitation Directory
Return to list of questions Return to topic groups
Man acted like father for three years; now DNA test shows he's not the father and he lost custody

Your Question:
I am trying to help my boyfriend in a situation that is hard for him and myself. Early this year my boyfriend come back from overseas and took in his child. The child was staying with his parents while working overseas. The mother of the child was also overseas in a different country. This man has been taking care of this child and the mother has not made any effort to see the child. Later this year he filed for full custody and he was awarded temporary custody of the child. The mother wanted to contest and the case was rescheduled. On the second hearing things did not go that well since they had to do a paternity test. The third hearing he found out that the child was not his. My boyfriend did not get a chance to say goodbye to the boy he has always raised as his son. Now from other mutual friends they say that the mother is unstable. My boyfriend is hurt and loves his son and he does not know what he can do. Is there any way that he can fight for custody over the boy he has raised for the past three years. I know there are questions of the biological father, but legally what rights does he have. I know there are slim to none but we are thinking of what is interest for his son. Any advice would be great.

Custody and visitation problems? We can help. can help you win custody, change custody, or reduce child support. Recommended by mediators and therapists and used every day by thousands of parents and families worldwide.

My Answer:

The father needs to talk with a very experienced attorney in the county where the child currently resides.

Courts are required to follow the letter of the law on some things, yet have wide discretion in other things (while acting within the confines of law).

There's a standard called "best interest of the child" that is the central theme of child custody cases. A judge is required to make a ruling in the best interest of the child, while of course following the law.

I wonder if the father can argue that both parties accepted without refute that HE is the father of the child, by allowing him to raise the child for three years. That a paternity test comes years later could be viewed as irrelevant.

This is the same argument made by a man who pays child support for years, has DNA evidence that the child is not his, but can't get a judge to override the paternity finding because it has been in place too long.

If the father has a bond with the child, if the father's parents have a bond with the child, and if all three of those adults are healthy and loving; it is arguably AGAINST the child's interest to rip them out of his life.

So... consulting with a very experienced family law attorney is the first step. Ideally, find one who has been through something like this before. Ask around. It's going to take a savvy attorney who buys into this argument, for you to have a shot.

Depending upon whether this situation has been strongly argued before in your state, it may require appealing the case.

I think the crux of the argument is... if the mother allows a man (with whom she had sex approximately 9 months before birth) to raise a child for years and allows him to believe that he is the father, does that constitute agreement between parties that he IS the father?

I think the answer may be yes, but I'm not an attorney.

In the meantime, build a case against the mother. Gather evidence. Look at my book reviews to find a book that helps the father understand how to build such a case.

If an attorney can convince a court that all parties agreed that he is the father, and the court accepts that, then the father must immediately mount a case to modify custody (and that's why he needs to be ready with his case against the mother).

Good luck.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

© 2005 ~ 2022 All Rights Reserved.