Earl Simmons (known as rapper “DMX”) recently passed with 11 possible non-marital children. This certainly has the potential to become a complex and interesting probate case. Are any of them heirs? How do they prove they were his kids? Can they prove it without DNA? Let’s break it down:
Does the birth certificate prove paternity?
If DMX was named on the birth certificate as the father, isn’t that enough? The answer is actually YES for moms, and NO for dads. Why? Because mom is the one laying in the hospital physically giving birth. There’s no doubt there. Whereas, you can write anyone’s name down as the father on the birth certificate. The hospital doesn’t verify that a person is the father. In theory, you could write whomever you want.
How to prove paternity without DNA
If you don’t want to exhume the body to get samples, then how do you prove paternity without DNA?
The father’s name on the birth certificate is a helpful starting point, but you will need more. The court will take everything into consideration, so the more proof you have, the better.
First, a court order for child support is extremely helpful. This means that at some point, a court determined that he is the father and had to pay support.
Additionally, was there open and notorious acknowledgement? Did DMX act like he was their father? Was he in family photos? Did he send them birthday cards? Did he tell others and act like a father? Did he do fatherly things such as attended parent teacher conferences or take them for medical care? Did they post about their kids on social media? It’s going to be much harder to prove paternity if none of this existed. Not impossible, but certainly difficult.
It is quite a process to prove paternity during the probate process, especially with a high-profile celebrity. It will be interesting to see how DMX’s estate unfolds.
If you want to learn more about how probate works (what DMX’s family will have to go through), check out my book on Amazon, “How Probate Works.”