One of the critical issues that need to be determined in a child support case is proving paternity. In awarding child support to the father, there are certain factors that need to be studied by the court. According to the website of Arenson Law Group, PC, unless paternity is established, the father may not be allowed to see or support a child. There are different rules that prevail when it comes to proving paternity.
Agreed or Presumed Paternity
In a child support case, the court classifies fathers as acknowledged or presumed. So what’s the difference? An acknowledged father is a biological father of a child whose parents are unmarried. In this case, paternity is established if the father admits it in court or the parents or agreed upon by the parents. In this case, an acknowledged father pays for child support.
On the other hand, establishing paternity for a presumed father is based upon certain conditions that need to be true unless he or the mother proves otherwise:
- The man was married to the mother when the child was conceived or born. In some states, however, a man is not considered a presumed father if the couple has separated.
- The man tried to marry the mother and the child was conceived or born during that period
- The man married the mother after the birth and agreed to either have his name on the birth certificate or provide child support
- The man welcomed the child into his home and openly accepted the child as his own
The presumed father must pay child support
The last decade has seen a great deal of changes in the law. Nowadays, in some states, a spouse who is not the legal parent is qualified for custody or visitation under the principle of equitable parent. This is applicable if the man and the child have a close relationship and regard themselves as parent and child or when the biological parent encouraged the relationship. If the man was granted equitable parent rights, he will also shoulder child support.
When an unmarried man impregnates a woman, he is often referred to as the alleged father. He pays for child support if the court establishes his paternity of he acknowledges that he is the father. He also has visitation rights and may seek custody.
A stepfather is the spouse of a legal mother but is not the biological father of the woman’s children. They are not required to pay support unless he legally adopts the children.