QUESTION FROM JAMES P.
I have been seeing this woman on and off for 5 years. She recently gave birth to a baby boy and now claims the baby is my child. When I went to the hospital to visit, she handed me some papers to sign. This baby is really cute and looks just like me! She has always been really into me and waiting around for me to marry her. I do believe that this is my kid. Should I sign these papers?
James, whatever you do, do not sign any forms at the hospital or any
documents whatsoever until you consult with a lawyer. You are not the
father of this child until a reputable DNA test states with certainty
that you are the daddy. The form she is attempting to have you sign is
called a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity Form (“VAP,”).
If you sign the VAP, it operates as a judgment and is conclusive of
paternity unless you rescind it within a very short period of time. In
other words, this form is essentially conclusive that you are the
daddy. To make matters worse, it is virtually impossible to reverse the
judgment unless you prove fraud or duress. Being adjudicated the father
means that you will contribute to the support of this child which may
include but not be limited to, payment of child support, providing
medical and dental insurance, contributing to child care costs, college
contribution and numerous other obligations and responsibilities.
Even if this baby resembles you, do not for one second be so naive to
think that you are the father of this baby. Remember, you were not
seeing this woman exclusively and, rest assured she was not sitting
around waiting for you to call no matter how much she proclaims her
love for you. In fact, she could have been having sex with a variety
of men (maybe at the same time) who look just like you. It is better to
be safe than stupid so always request a DNA test to determine if the
child is really yours.