DEAR ABBY: I am writing to tell your readers to always consult an attorney when dealing with paternity issues.
Out of the blue, we were hit with a suit to pay support for a child who is 12 years old. The woman listed as the mother was someone my husband had dated for one week. Needless to say, he was stunned. The state wanted back support to the tune of $15,000, plus future support and medical insurance. My husband didn't know what to think, but I was fighting mad. We have a child of our own and another on the way.
I contacted an attorney in the state where the suit had been filed to learn what our rights were. He told us to insist on a paternity test. The state readily agreed (they were sure my husband was the father), and they even paid for the test.
The test was done and we waited. A couple of months later, we received a letter telling us that my husband was not the father, and the lawsuit was dismissed.
We were greatly relieved, but my heart breaks for the child who has been lied to for 12 years about who his father is.
Please urge your readers to insist on a paternity test. Regardless of how it turns out, everyone needs to know the truth. -- PUT TO THE TEST IN PORTLAND, ORE.
DEAR PUT: If a man is asked to support a child he is not sure is his, he should insist on a paternity test. This test is the only way to establish that a man is (or is not) the biological father.
An attorney is always helpful when dealing with paternity issues, but not always necessary. Your physician can refer you to a laboratory that performs paternity (or parentage) testing.