Rubright v. Arnold

In Rubright v. Arnold, 973 P.2d 580, 581, 586 (Alaska 1999) the court held that an award of child support arrearages against an adjudicated father as of the date of the child's birth seven years earlier was proper, although the mother's former husband was the child's legal father before the adjudication of the biological father's paternity. At the child's birth, the mother was married to another man, not the child's father, and listed her husband as the child's father on the child's birth certificate. Id. at 581. The mother and her husband subsequently separated but were not divorced when the mother's paternity action was filed. Id. The biological father argued that his child support obligation could only begin on the date the trial court found him to be the child's father, because the mother's husband was the child's legal father before that time. Id. at 586. The court rejected that argument, holding instead that a father's liability for child support commenced at the child's birth and not on the adjudication of paternity. Id. The court acknowledged the potential for unfairness and large and unexpected child support liabilities resulting from the application of such a rule in cases where a biological father had no notice of his paternity for many years after the child's birth, but concluded that the rule had been well established, and that any relief from its potentially harsh consequences must come from the legislature rather than the court. Id.