Court Says Husband, Not Boyfriend, Child’s Dad

     (CN) – An Oklahoma man is the legal father of a child who was given the last name of his wife’s boyfriend at birth, a state appeals court ruled.
     Matthew and Angela Copeland were married in October 2003 and welcomed a child in November.
     Although they separated in 2008, the Copelands still had sexual relations. Angela also began a sexual relationship with Coleman Bates III.
     When Angela gave birth in September 2009, the child was given the last name of Bates. One day later, Bates signed an acknowledgement that he was the baby’s father.
     In 2013, Matthew received a notice of a pending child support action and filed for dissolution of his marriage to Angela.
     The trial court granted Matthew’s motion to vacate Bates’ acknowledgement of paternity because the child was born during the marriage, and Matthew did not file a denial of paternity.
     The court also dismissed Bates’ action to be judicially declared the child’s father because he did not file it within two years of the child’s birth, and he didn’t prove the Copelands did not have sex after their separation.
     Bates appealed, but the Oklahoma Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling that Matthew was the child’s legal father.
     Judge Larry Joplin noted in his opinion that the acknowledgement of paternity signed by Angela and Bates falsely stated that Angela was not married when the baby was born.
     “Further, Bates proved no excuse for the commencement of the action to determine paternity more than two years after the birth of the child as provided in (the law),” Joplin wrote.

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