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Can a woman who is married get pregnant by someone else but the child has her husband’s name?

Let’s say I’m a married woman who had an affair and got pregnant. What if I decide that I’m giving the baby my husband’s name what are the legal or moral ramifications?

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Editor's Response

Obviously you can’t just give a child fathered by someone else your husband’s name unless you are engaging in deceit and pretending the child is your husband’s child. If your husband knows the child is not his and he still stays married to you then it would be up to him to decide if it’s okay with him to give the child his name, assuming it’s a simple case where the other father is not involved and it’s just you and your husband deciding to do this. What laws would govern this kind of thing I have no clue. I’m thinking since the child isn’t really your husband’s child then there could be legal issues surrounding the choice to put your husband’s name on the birth certificate; but how many times in history has it happened where someone is named on a birth certificate as a child’s father even though they are not in fact the father. I’m sure it’s happened countless times. If the real father isn’t a factor and and your husband is in agreement to do this then I would say it’s nobody’s business at the end of the day; but these deep dark family secrets do have a way of eventually coming out and causing problems down the road. Your child won’t remain a baby for very long.

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Disclaimer: Editor's Response answers should not be taken for expert advice. The person behind the Editor's Response is not a relationship expert but just a regular member of the general public and all Editor's Response answers should be considered in the same light as an opinion given by a random individual on the street. Some Marriage questions are manufactured by Marriage Scene writers based on Internet research.
0 7 3465 05 March, 2011 Marriage Answers March 5, 2011

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  1. Legal Beagle

    This answer is incorrect. If the wife has the husband’s last name she can give it to the child. Pretty sure in every state the women can give the child her last name whether it be maiden or married last name.

  2. Team Writer

    Legal Eagle makes a good point. I failed to separate the issues of naming the husband as the father on the birth certificate from the issue of giving the baby the husband’s surname. These are two different things. My response was addressing the issue of naming the husband as the father on the birth certificate while knowing he’s not and while he hasn’t given permission to do that. Obviously if you have legally acquired your husband’s name it is now legally your name so you should be able to give the child whatever surname you legally use. However, I still question whether you can just name your husband as the father of your child on the child’s birth certificate when you know your husband is not the father and you don’t have your husband’s permission to put his name on the birth certificate identifying him as the father. If anyone knows more about that please enlighten us.

  3. Sonya

    Any child born to a married couple is considered to be the husbands child. Unless these laws have changed in recent years. It is so by default. There have even been cases that during a divorce and child support hearing, the man has contested paying child support for a child that is not his. But during the marriage he took care of the child as his, but now that the marriage is over he does not want to pay child support for the child that is not his biological child. The judge says to bad, you were taking care of them before and that will continue. It is whats best for the child. Now these are old cases I am referring to, so the laws may have changed.

    1. mindy davis

      and if the couple is still married can the mom give the babys last name as the father last name and not the husband name

    2. Jim

      Absolutely right. A woman can have 12 kids by 12 different fathers and whoever she’s legally married to is legally considered the father of those children. Biology and DNA is irrelevant and justice is blind.


  4. Yardy

    That’s not 100% correct Jim. I’m currently going to court with a long time friend of mine who’s married that decided all of a sudden she wants to have sex with me. Then 10 minutes after leaving my house she started playing the what if I’m pregnant song. I immediately told her to cut the cr@p and abandon the thought because I’m currently in a situation with a child that I’m pretty sure isn’t mine but the court says I have to pay. Never spoke to her again until she decides to send me all kind of pictures of the progress as if I’m interested.
    But she turned up in court with the husband and the DNA result says 99.9999998% Probability.
    It would seem she married someone for money so he could get his Green Card then pin the baby on me (She knew my other child’s mother receive almost $1400 a month) for support money.
    I told the judge I’m going to fight it despite the high probability. The DNA test even have her listed as Caucasian and she’s black… Not too sure what’s going on there and if that affects the results.

    But if she didn’t say anything about another man being the Father then the person she is legally married to is considered the father. But as a side note… If the guy is marrying for his greencard and the woman is saying it’s another person’s baby wouldn’t the immigration judge would find that odd…


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