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Paternity Surprise for Women Thinking of Leaving Their Husbands

Are you separated? Thinking of cheating on your husband? Or still living with your ex-husband but seeing someone else? There's something you ought to know.

While you're married, and even for 300 days (10 months) after your divorce is final, most U.S. states and the U.K. presume your husband is the legal father of any child you give birth to. This is true even if some other man you are sure is the father signs the birth certificate.

In most cases, your husband can contest his status as parent in court, and so can the biological father. Genetic testing will be ordered to sort it out, but it almost always requires waiting until the child is born and the court makes a decision. Until then, the man you were married to at conception has all the rights and all the responsibilities of fatherhood.

Why? To make it easier for a couple to forgive an infidelity and get their marriage back on track, and to make it harder for a husband to abandon his wife while she's pregnant. Good goals.

But in an age where women initiate 80% of all divorces, perhaps a bit of an unwelcome surprise to a woman who pronounces herself single again before a judge does.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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