The answer to the question of who is a child's father may not be as easy to answer as you think from a legal perspective. (Is anything?) The answer may be different depending on the situation. For example, notorious breaker of the internet Kim Kardashian became pregnant with Kanye West's baby while Kardashian was still married to Kris Humphries. If this happened in Kentucky, Mr. Humphries would be the presumed father of the child because he and Kardashian were still married when the child was conceived.
Kentucky statute states: A child born during lawful wedlock, or within ten (10) months thereafter, is presumed to be the child of the husband and wife. However, a child born out of wedlock includes a child born to a married woman by a man other than her husband where evidence shows that the marital relationship between the husband and wife ceased ten (10) months prior to the birth of the child.
The Kardashian/Humphries/West situation actually comes up with some frequency. Many times a wife will have an affair and get pregnant by a man other than her husband. Since the presumption is that the child is one of the marriage, it is incumbent upon the husband, especially in a divorce case, to make sure that the child is his. If he fails to do that and the child forms a bond with the husband, a court may actually refuse to allow the man to disavow paternity of the child. I have been involved with cases where the child ranged in ages from eight to fifteen where the court refused to allow a man who had always been a part of the child's life as the child's father to then abandon the child on the basis of no biological connection. Nevertheless, if there is a suspicion that a child of a marriage may not be the husband's that issue must be raised in the divorce in order for there to even be a hope of avoiding a finding of paternity. If it is not raised during the initial divorce proceeding, it will most likely be waived absent discovery of new evidence that was not available during the divorce for some reason.
A putative father may initiate an action to establish paternity. A putative father is a man who believes he may have impregnated a woman, regardless of whether the man is the woman's husband. If a putative father does not initiate an action to establish paternity, he has no legal rights to a child. An action to establish paternity may also be initiated by the mother or even the Commonwealth of Kentucky through the division of child support. Once paternity is established, he may be required to pay child support, other expenses, and be entitled to visitation with the child.
If you have more questions about paternity issues in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, seek advice of counsel as soon as possible.
Photo courtesy of Drew XXX
Labels: child support, county attorney, divorce, family law, kanye west, kardashian, paternity, presumption, visitation, wedlock