Who's The Daddy: When Paternity Is In Question
Becoming a father can be a joyful experience, but sometimes it's an unexpected surprise. While you may have every intention of doing the right thing and supporting your offspring, you may have questions about just how responsible you are for this upcoming bundle of joy, especially since you and the mother are no longer together. Before you agree to pay child support, there are a few important points to ponder, so don't sign on that dotted line without reading the below information.
Admitting That You're The Father
It's important that you understand that the mother of the baby likely had to name a father, any father, in order to receive valuable government aid like housing and food stamps. If you go along with this without requiring proof of paternity, the government then has the ability to force you to pay child support in excess of 18 years, since in some states child support continues while the child attends college. Once you agree to pay, the child support enforcement agency has to ability to garnish your pay and you could face fines and jail time for failing to support that child.
Paying For Someone Else's Child
If you need further justification for insisting on paternity testing before taking on the responsibilities of fatherhood, consider that even if you are proven to not be the father later on, you could still be required to continue paying child support for the duration and you will not be entitled to be reimbursed for all past support payments. The courts are extremely reluctant to put a halt to the support of a child, especially if you have been paying for some time and the true father is unknown, cannot be located or is unable to pay.
It's Not Just Money
Consider too, just as the courts do, the welfare of the child. The judicial system places a high priority on actions that align with the best interests of the child, and so should you. If you have already formed a relationship with this child, you cannot simple walk away from this connection to the child, whether you are the biological father or not.
In light of the long-term financial and emotional obligation that fatherhood presents, you would be extremely unwise to forgo DNA testing. Don't allow yourself to be swayed by tears and protestations from the mother; get undeniable proof one way or the other. Failing to do so could prevent the biological father knowledge of fatherhood as well as cause you years of unneeded financial obligations.
Discuss your child paternity situation with a family lawyer from a group like Souders Law Group and protect your paternity rights.