Under Maryland law, children born or conceived during a marriage are presumed to be the legitimate children of both spouses. The issue of paternity is important to settle as early in a child’s life as possible, for emotional, financial, and legal reasons. Once a man is determined to be the father, he is under a legal obligation to support the child. In some cases, a person may attempt to dispute paternity and any resulting court order regarding child support or custody issues. This is a matter that courts take very seriously. If you are facing a paternity, child custody, or support matter, it is important to contact an experienced family law attorney who can help to preserve and protect your legal rights.
This law referenced above does not take into account a situation where the spouses cease living together, fail to enter into divorce proceedings, and the wife bears children with another person. Under these circumstances, the marital presumption would kick in and the husband would be presumed to be the father of any children born during their marriage, whether he was living with the mother or not. In a recent case, the couple married in 2000 but stopped living together soon after. Neither spouse sought a divorce. But in the years since their marriage, the mother gave birth to five children, four of them within the time period when the couple was “estranged” Continue reading →