In the case of child support where you’re not married to the father or mother of the child there’s a long and short answer that goes along with the question. If you’re asking if you’re still obligated to pay child support if you weren’t married the short answer is, yes. The long answer still comes to be yes but there’s a lot more that goes along with it because there’s no legally binding document between both parties.
The key point to the question is whether or not paternity has been established when someone is requesting child support. For example, if a mother requests child support, paternity must first be proven before child support can be given out. Outside of marriage, paternity is not assumed, even if you’re listed on a child’s birth certificate. Paternity can only be established through court order therefore, if you haven’t been to court you will not have established paternity. Simply being listed on your child birth certificate is not enough to establish paternity.
If, in our example, the mother wants to seek out child support she has to establish paternity, which in and of itself can be difficult. Either the father voluntarily conducts DNA or genetic testing otherwise the mother must file a suit to force the father to do so. From there the court can potentially make the father conduct the tests and ultimately move toward the child support case itself.
Once paternity is established the next step is to figure out custody and placement of the child or children. In this process, the court cannot calculate child support without determining how much time the child or children will spend with each parent. Once this placement process is established then the court can finally set a child support amount. This entire process can span the time of a couple of months to over a year.
Ultimately, child support can be a difficult subject to traverse without the help of a lawyer. If you’re seeking help in your custody case, married or not, contact us today for a FREE consultation!
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