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Cowboys Star to Judge:

I Want to be Involved

in My Child's Life

11/15/2011 12:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Jay Ratliff
Dallas Cowboys defensive stud Jay Ratliff wants a judge to know ... he's willing to put in the time and the money to be a great father to his newborn son ... but he thinks his baby mama is trying to take advantage of his big, fat bank account.

Ratliff -- a 3-time Pro Bowl nose tackle who recently signed a $40 million contract extension -- was hit with a paternity suit back in April by a woman named Tonitura Kelley, who claimed the NFL star was the father of her then-unborn child.

According to court docs, Ratliff submitted to a paternity test, which revealed a positive match between Jay and the baby. Kelley filed a request for child support ... but sources familiar with the case tell us she's looking for more money than state guidelines provide for.

Jay filed docs saying he wants to be involved in the child's life -- and is making a play for shared custody. He and Tonitura are due back in court in the near future.

Ratliff's rep tells TMZ ... Jay is currently visiting with his son at least 3 times a week ... adding, "Jay's stepped up to become a good father, he loves his child ... and he's letting the judicial system run its course."

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