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I have three kids. For the last 10 years, my two oldest have had a good relationship with their grandparents and father's family.

This past weekend, an ex-boyfriend and I met up for drinks to catch up, and we always knew there could be a possibility of him being the father of my second child, but we never acted upon it. The day she was born, I told my husband at the time that if he wanted to do a DNA test to do it then, and not wait. He said no, that the child was his and so we went on with life.

We eventually divorced and now he gets the kids one weekend a month. So now I'm trying to figure out if I should have a DNA test done for my ex-boyfriend to see if he is actually the father of my second child. I don't want to screw her up, but I feel like everyone needs to know the truth on who she is. She has no idea that my former husband is not or may not be her dad. He is all she has ever known.

I've tried to get my ex to take a test in the past, but he never agreed until now. He is finally in a stable place mentally that he could handle being a father, but I don't want to screw my kid up mentally. Is 10 too young to pass on this information or should we wait until she is 18?

  • Are you renewing a relationship with this ex who may be the father? Whose interest are you trying to act in, the child's or the 'ex'? – Adam Heeg Feb 19 at 16:19
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    There are also legal implications to that. If your ex-BF is the father, he would be on the hook for child support and your ex-husband would not. This may or may not matter in your situation but it can get messy really quickly. You might want to think through all potential consequences of this outcome. – Hilmar Feb 19 at 17:34
  • @Hilmar: Not necessarily. In many jurisdictions changing the legal father would require the legal father's approval, at least after some time. Also, there is usually a time limit for such claims, usually shorter than 10 years. – sleske Feb 21 at 14:00
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Before I begin, being a dad is zero percent biological and 100 percent showing up. I have five children. One of my children is from my wife's previous marriage. I love him with all of my heart and origin of his DNA has nothing to do with it. I show up every day, do the hard things to raise him, teach him how to be an adult, and be the best dad I can be. There is a huge difference between fathering a child and being a dad.

Your child is too young for this information when the test hasn't even been performed yet. Why muddy the waters and have the child questioning who her father is when nothing has even been discovered yet? If you are unsure about the paternity, you should get the test done simply for medical reasons. Knowing the connection to past medical issues is enough of a reason to get the testing done. However, do not tell the child about the test. I have no advice on when and even if you should tell them if the results of the test show that the ex-boyfriend is the father. Prior to the test being done and the results being known, keep the child out of it.

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  • I don't get why this got down voted :| Could the person who did provide any explanation to why? – A.bakker Feb 19 at 6:03
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    I didn't downvote but I suspect the claim 0% biological and 100% showing up may have struck some the wrong way. Just off the top of my mind - I know someone who found out their biological father was NOT of nazi blood line, but the one they grew up with was. Their lives changed after that. Who knows what cleared in their minds, but that alone causes the 0% claim to be at least relative to each person. As a kid it might not matter or make sense but I guess the older you get the more one might think about origins. Who can say for sure? – Kai Qing Feb 19 at 21:16
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    Personally, I strongly object to "Your child is too young for this information". No child is too young, rather you should (generally) tell them about it as soon as possible, in an age-appropriate manner. See e.g. When is the right time to tell my daughter she's not my biological child? – sleske Feb 21 at 14:02
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    @sleske I think you are misunderstanding what I mean and perhaps that is on my wording. What I am saying is "your child is too young for this information" when the test hasn't been performed yet. Why muddy the waters and have the child questioning who her father is when nothing has even been discovered yet. It's an unnecessary burden on her. Get the test results first and then go from there. – SomeShinyObject Feb 25 at 5:31
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    @SomeShinyObject I misread this as well, but your previous comment makes is clearer. Maybe you should incorporate it in your answer. :) – Arsak Feb 25 at 9:13

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